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David Malcolm Renton

David Malcolm Renton, known as “DM”, was a builder and business executive in southern California. He is best known for his Craftsman style homes in Pasadena and for the construction of the Casino Ballroom and other homes on Catalina Island in the early 1900s. Renton was influential in the development of Catalina Island under William Wrigley Jr. serving as vice-president of the Santa Catalina Island Company and the Wilmington Transportation Company from 1919 to his retirement in 1936. He served as president of the Wilmington Catalina Airlines from 1931 to 1942. David Malcolm “DM” Renton was born on Prince Edward Island, son of John and Catherine Renton and one of six children, his father died when he was 14 years old, Renton left home at the age of 16 to become an apprentice in the construction trade in Massachusetts in 1894. In 1902, he moved to Pasadena, California with two friends to establish the building company Upton, Ellsworth & Renton, he pursued home building on his own as a general contractor.

In the early 1900s, California was growing at a rapid rate as westward expansion turned from the gold rush to a real estate boom. The development of railroad and automobile transportation was transforming Southern California into a winter vacation destination. Renton took advantage of the construction boom to make a name for himself, he was recruited in 1919 by gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. to implement resort development plans for Catalina Island on the basis of the quality of work done for Wrigley's private home in Pasadena. Renton became a trusted employee of Wrigley, based in Chicago, undertook major development projects in real estate development, public works and local industry, including mining and pottery production; the most significant of these projects are listed below. The massive variety of development on the island included the construction of a golf course and a spring training camp for the Chicago Cubs and farming, film and entertainment, an exotic bird park, more. In order to understand the scope of development in the 1920s, one can compare the count of visitors, which grew by more than a multiple of 8 in one decade.

In 1919, the annual visitor count was 90,000 people and in 1930 it had reached 750,000 visitors. By the time Wrigley purchased Catalina Island in 1919, he had established a major international business selling gum through the William Wrigley Jr. Co. Through force of his marketing and advertising prowess, Wrigley had amassed a fortune with which he financed the majority of the projects Renton undertook for the company; as general contractor in southern California, Renton developed residential sub-divisions for the new summer populations moving to California, included stately homes in both the Craftsman and bungalow courts. He built homes in the Colonial Revival style, he built homes in Newport Beach, Orange Heights and Long Beach. He is known to have worked as contractor for well-known architectural design firms like Greene & Greene as well as building homes of his own design. 1080 North Hill Avenue, Pasadena, CA 1415 Michigan Avenue, Pasadena, CA built in 1914. Two bungalow courts are listed on the National Register of Historic Places: Bryan Court at 427 S. Marengo Ave, Pasadena Bellevue Court on 440 S. Marengo Ave.

Pasadena Renton's first major solo job was the construction of the observation tower of the Mt. Wilson Observatory; the tower was built to house a 60-inch telescope for an astronomical observatory. The observatory was a project of the University of Chicago, under the direction of Professor George E. Hale and Professor Edwin Frost. Located at an elevation of 5700 feet on an undeveloped summit, the lumber for the building had to be packed to the mountaintop by mules. Surmounting these logistical challenges, Renton built housing for astronomers in residence. For the Mt. Wilson Toll Co. he additionally built forty bungalows and a hotel, completed in 1904. When William Wrigley Jr. solicited bids for new construction on Catalina Island, Renton was awarded the first contract to build new summer bungalows. Thereafter, Renton was kept on including the 160-room Atwater Hotel; when Wrigley proposed to have a brand new hotel built in time for the opening of the 1920 summer season, contractors on the mainland did not think it was possible since all materials had to be shipped from the mainland by barge and labor was not available.

Machinery from Renton's lumber mill was relocated to the island to produce all the required furniture on-site in the spring of 1920. The hotel opened July 1, 1920; the hotel was built in combination with a cafeteria covering an entire city block that could serve 1,500 and was billed as the largest in the world. After purchasing Catalina Island, William Wrigley Jr. commissioned Renton to design and build another private residence on a hill overlooking the south end of Avalon Bay. The Georgian Colonial home, named after Wrigley's wife and designed according to her ideas, was begun in 1920 and completed in 1921; the home was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985 and is now operated as the “Inn at Mount Ada.” Walter Harris was a draughtsman for Renton and Nils A. Walberg was an artist and decorator for Mt. Ada. Interested in the possibility of mining on Catalina Island from water well drilling and a brief episode of mining activity there in 1864, Renton established a mine at Blackjack Mountain in 1923.

The first ore shipment was sent to smelters with about twenty tons of raw ore containing silver and zinc. During the four years of operations, additional mines were opened up at Pebbly Beach, Renton Vein and Cherry Valley. From February to November 1926, they manufactured and shipped close to 3,000 tons of concentrates and received r

Topsham railway station

Topsham railway station is the railway station serving the town of Topsham in the English county of Devon. It is the passing place for the otherwise single-track branch line from Exmouth Junction to Exmouth. Both the loop and adjacent level crossing are remotely worked from the signal box at Exmouth Junction; the station, with buildings designed by Sir William Tite, opened with the railway on 1 May 1861. On 23 September 1861 a 700 yards branch was opened from the south end of the station, which dropped steeply to the wharf on the River Exe; the station was owned by the London and South Western Railway. In 1923 this became a constituent of the Southern Railway which, in turn was nationalised in 1948. Following the privatisation of British Rail it was operated by Wessex Trains but the franchise has now been transferred to First Great Western; the old station buildings and signal box are now occupied by offices. All trains on the Avocet Line from Exmouth to Exeter St Davids call at Topsham. There is a half-hourly daytime service in each direction, dropping to hourly in the evening.

Beyond St Davids they continue alternately to Barnstaple. Connections are available at Exeter Central for Pinhoe and stations to London Waterloo via Salisbury; the station is part of the new Penalty Fare Zone, where passengers could be charged a £20 penalty fare if a ticket is not purchased prior to joining the train. It is unstaffed, with a computerised ticket machine on the Exeter-bound platform; the only way to cross between platforms is the adjacent road crossing, closed when trains are approaching and in the station, so extra time should be budgeted if buying an Exmouth ticket, as it is possible to be trapped on the wrong side of the line