Incline Electric Railway

The Incline Electric Railway, sometimes called “Angel’s Flight” after the funicular that was built in 1901 on Los Angeles’ Bunker Hill, was built in 1908, under the Banning Brother’s ownership of the island. Hancock Banning was the instigator and supervisor of the railway.

The entrance to the Incline Electric Railway was located next to Avalon’s Greek amphitheater at the southeast end of Crescent Avenue, near Machine Gun Park.  The passenger cart could hold twelve passengers. As it ascended the hillside up to Buena Vista Point (the point below Mt. Ada), a second cart would be descending down to Lovers Cove, acting as a counter-balance.

At the apex of the two hillsides, a chalet-like building stood in the middle of gardens, offering a viewing deck, a small tea house and the powerhouse for the railway.

During this time, there was not yet a road to Lovers Cove, as there is now.  You could only access the Lovers Cove by boat or by carefully walking over the slippery rocks at low tide.  Once passengers reached Lovers Cove, they could disembark and board a glass bottom boat for a look around the cove's undersea kelp forest.

Avalon's Incline Electric Railway became a very popular attraction, offering beautiful, panoramic views, a spectacular setting for a cup of tea and the novelty of the unique ride.  The island experienced a huge setback in tourism after the great fire in 1915, which burned much of Avalon.  Railway operation ceased that year, in hopes that it would operate again in busier times.  However, by the time William Wrigley Jr. purchased the island in 1919, the attraction was in disrepair. Considered a hazard, the tracks and carts were removed. A cement platform and steel cables are still visible at Buena Vista Point.