Designed by Los Angeles-based architects Walter Webber and Sumner A. Spaulding, the Casino building was commissioned by the Santa Catalina Island Company and constructed in 1929. It rises 140 feet - the equivalent of a 12-story office building. But the structure - round, decorative, and with a diameter of 180 feet - is anything but businesslike. The building, designed in Moorish Alhambra style, features a lower-level movie theater, above which sits an elaborate ballroom adorned with intricate Art Deco fixtures. Sixteen glass double doors lead to a12-foot-wide balcony that wraps around the ballroom. Inside, the ballroom itself boasts high, intricate ceilings, an ornate central chandelier and an absence of interior columns for optimum sight lines.
It's the biggest existing ballroom of its type, with wood flooring that rests on a cushion of cork overlaid with felt and acoustical paper and pine, unique details specifically designed to create ideal dancing conditions. And dance they did - mainlanders often traveled the 26 miles to Avalon for Saturday night dances, and on May 8, 1940, a record 6,200 people danced in the Casino Ballroom to the music of Kay Kyser.