|El Rancho Escondido
Santa Catalina Island is a little bit of paradise 22 miles off the Southern
California Coast. In 1919 chewing gum magnate William Wrigley bought the
island, marking its birth as a world playground. Its major town, Avalon,
has been a pleasure resort for celebrities and common folk, alike. But
there's a lot more to Catalina than the little beachfront resort. It's
actually a rugged island, dotted with a number of hidden destinations.
One of those hidden jewels is El Rancho Escondido, which means, "lost
ranch." Wrigley's son, Phillip, founded it in the 1930's. "He
came up here and there are hills on both sides. When he found this place
this is where he decided to put his ranch. But when he returned to the
property he couldn't find it at first," said Chuck Kibler, ranch
Philip Wrigley, his wife, Helen, and their three children already bred
Arabian horses in their native Wisconsin and that's why they brought the
breed to this mountainous island. The Wrigley's used the Arabians to run
cattle as part of a long-time ranching tradition on the island. Catalina
attracted its first adventurous ranchers in the mid-1800s. When the Santa
Catalina Island Conservancy took over ownership of 88 percent of the island
in 1975 cattle ranching officially ended. But Rancho Escondido keeps it
alive in spirit through the beautiful Arabians.
Philip Wrigley also envisioned his ranch attracting busloads of visitors
so they could enjoy the Arabians he loved. El Rancho Escondido offers
daily horse shows for passengers on the Inland Motor Tour. After the show
you're free to walk around the ranch and visit the Classic Saddle and
Trophy room. It's bulging with Wrigley riding memorabilia, including all
of the ribbons the family has won.
The Wrigley's were people who had the foresight to preserve the beauty
of their historic ranch, as well as that of Catalina Island. If you want
to know more about the ranch call (310) 510-0772.