The Banning Family played a pivotal role in the development of southern California. Phineas Banning (1830-1885) immigrated to California from Philadelphia in 1852, and soon became a partner in a freight and stage-line business that ran between San Pedro and Los Angeles. He founded the settlement of Wilmington near San Pedro, which served as the hub of the Banning Company. Banning’s many business interests included shipping, warehousing, real estate, and transportation services to Los Angeles and inland areas. The Banning Company continued under the direction of Phineas’s sons, William, Joseph Brent (J.B.), and Hancock, until the company dissolved in 1920.
The Banning Company purchased the majority interest in Santa Catalina Island in 1892 with the intention of developing the site as a resort. In partnership with Dr. Charles Frederick Holder, the family turned Catalina into a renowned fishing destination. The Bannings controlled Catalina Island until 1919 when they sold their controlling interest for $3.5 million dollars to chewing gum magnate William Wrigley.
From the guide to the Banning Family Collection of Photographs, Part I, 1850-1979, (bulk 1880s-1910s), (The Huntington Library)