A collection of correspondence between
D. M. Renton and William Wrigley, Jr., concerning the development of Santa Catalina Island
under Wrigley ownership.
David Malcolm Renton, known as D. M., was born on Prince Edward Island, Canada, on February
8, 1878; he was the son of John Renton, a house and ship builder, and Catherine (Nicholson)
Renton. At the age of 16, D. M. Renton moved to Massachusetts to train as a carpenter and at
the same time attended night school for his education. He moved to Southern California in
1902, to establish a building company. After this company disbanded, Renton went on to work
as a general contractor; one of his first jobs was building an observation tower on Mt.
Wilson. Renton also began to build Craftsman-style homes in Pasadena, California. Renton met
William Wrigley, Jr., in 1919, when he was hired to build homes for Wrigley in Pasadena.
That same year, Wrigley bought Santa Catalina Island and began, over the years, to improve
the island by building public utilities, new steamships, a hotel, the Casino building, and
extensive plantings of trees, shrubs, and flowers. Wrigley, who lived mainly in Chicago,
hired Renton to oversee all the extensive building on the island and he also served as vice
president of the Santa Catalina Island Company. Renton first married Elizabeth Blaisdell
Ryder and they had two sons: Malcolm Joseph Renton and Arthur Lincoln Renton. Elizabeth died
in 1935 and Renton married Isabel Blanche Cline in 1937. When Renton retired in 1936, he
lived at a cattle ranch in Atascadero, California, "Rancho Santa Catalina," until he died in
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