The Society is regularly featured in local newspapers so we encourage our followers to continue to browse the local press. Even in this whirlwind era of social media there is still a vital role for local newspapers (printed and digital) to help our communities stay connected and informed.
We are grateful for the coverage that helps us to:
• Promote upcoming events and exhibitions
• Follow-up events with in-depth articles and interviews
• Inclusion in their “Calendars” and “Community” sections.
In particular, we are most grateful for the ongoing support of the Hartford Courant
, Valley Press
, Valley Life
, Avon Patch
, and many more.
Here's our latest news:
Two New Markers for the National Register of Historical Places Erected by the Town of Avon
June 5, 2020, Avon, CT — Two new markers were erected recently by the Town of Avon commemorating historic sites that are on the National Register of Historical Places. Thanks to two grants from The William G. Pomeroy Foundation, the Avon Congregational Church meetinghouse and the Pine Grove Historic District will be more publicly recognized for their historical significance.
The National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of historic places worthy of preservation. The Avon Congregational Church meetinghouse at 6 West Main Street was added to the National Register in 1972; Pine Grove Historic District was added in 1980. The third National Register site in Avon is The Farmington Canal (listed 1985), which follows the path of the Farmington Valley Heritage Trail & Farmington River Trail.
Said Rev. Chris Solimene, pastor of the Avon Congregational Church, “This marker will stand, not only for the architectural significance of this handsome meeting house, but perhaps, more importantly, as testament to the persevering spirit of the spiritual community it houses. Avon was founded by a faith-filled people who wanted to swing wide their doors of hospitality to all. The building of this church was the result of this pioneering hope. I’m glad to say we still strive to be a welcome sacred respite for all.”
The Avon Historical Society placed the marker in a spot easily seen at the three corners in front of the 1865 Pine Grove Schoolhouse, 3 Harris Road. Although the Schoolhouse is closed for the summer due to the pandemic, the sign is a reminder of the historic significance of that area. Said Terri Wilson, president of the Avon Historical Society, “It’s very important to recognize the past with National Register properties and districts. It is a testament to time and love of heritage that we are able to preserve such sites publicly and privately. The Society is grateful to the Pomeroy Foundation for assisting us in recognizing these historic assets in the Town of Avon.”
The Avon Historical Society and the Avon Congregational Church are grateful to the Town of Avon and to Paul Hoekman and his staff of the Public Works Department for installing the sign.
The William G. Pomeroy Foundation awarded the grants to the Avon Congregational Church meetinghouse and the Pine Grove Historic District because of their importance to American history. The Avon Congregational Church meetinghouse, built in 1819 and designed by Connecticut architect David Hoadley, retains many original features. For over two hundred years, the meetinghouse has served the Town for worship, town meetings, and events that support the community. The Pine Grove Historic District showcases one 18th century house, four 19th century farmsteads, and the 1865 Pine Grove Schoolhouse. The area retains its rural, agrarian character and the buildings sit close to the road with open fields allowing for long range views of the mountain.
The William G. Pomeroy Foundation of Syracuse, N.Y. is a private, grant-making foundation established in 2005 and based in Syracuse, NY. The Foundation is committed to supporting the celebration and preservation of community history through a variety of roadside marker grant programs, including the National Register Signage Grant Program. Since 2006, the Foundation has funded more than 900 historic roadside markers and plaques nationwide, including over 235 National Register markers. Grants cover the cost of a marker, pole and shipping.
The Foundation is also committed to raising awareness, supporting research and improving the quality of care for patients and their families who are facing a blood cancer diagnosis. Visit: www.wgpfoundation.org
The Avon Congregational Church
(established 1818; meetinghouse built 1819) is a community of faith helping one another to live as Jesus Christ loved and taught. Membership and attendance at worship and events are open to all. For information, visit www.avon-church.org. Contact: Pastor Chris Solimene (ACC) 860-678-0488; email@example.com
The Avon Historical Society
(established 1974) is a nonprofit organization that identifies, collects, publishes, displays, promotes and preserves the heritage of Avon. Membership and attendance at events is open to all. Contact: Terri Wilson (President of AHS) 860-789-0918; firstname.lastname@example.org
New Gravestone Installed for Rev. Rufus Hawley
In a recent ceremony at the West Avon Cemetery, Avon, CT, a new gravestone was installed to replace a deteriorated one from 1826 of Rev. Rufus Hawley, minister of Northington (original name of Avon) for 48 years, from 1769 to 1817. The new one, made of comparable grade stone from Vermont, was handcrafted by artisan and historian Randall Nelson of Willington, CT with funds donated by the Marilyn Lindsay Foundation and the Marilyn Lindsay Revocable Trust. Attending the ceremony to install the new stone was fifth and sixth generation descendants of Rev. Hawley, John Miller (R) and his daughter Amanda Richards (center). Joining them is Christine Miller (left), John’s wife who found the connection to Rev. Hawley while working on her husband’s genealogy. The Miller’s are from Oxford, CT. Amanda Richards is from Southbury, CT. The stone on the left is for Zerah Hawley (one of Rev. Hawley’s son) and his family which is the genealogical line of Mr. Miller and Amanda. According to state probate law, the next closest living relative of Rev. Hawley had to approve the replacement. The original stone of Rev. Hawley is in the archives of the Avon Historical Society. Photo courtesy of Deb Key Imagery.
1865 Pine Grove Schoolhouse in Avon Closed for Summer; Students Invited to Give Thanks to Teachers
Due to the pandemic, the Avon Historical Society has closed the 1865 Pine Grove Schoolhouse, corner of West Avon and Harris Roads, for the summer visitor season. However, it invites students to participate in a THANK YOU event for their teachers.
This is a unique moment in history. It has not been easy for students or teachers because they are unable to see each other in person and share in end of year festivities. In order to say thank you, the Society suggests that if families are willing, and students are inspired, they pose for a photo outside the front of the historic Pine Grove Schoolhouse holding a thank you sign for their teachers. The families, with their permission, can send the photo to the Society with the student(s) name, grade and school they attend. Photos will be shared on social media via their website and FB page. It can be a family photo or just a student photo. Either way, the Society will be happy to share it this summer in gratitude for what teachers have been through this last half of the school year. Send photos to: email@example.com
In addition, the Society is pleased to announce that a little library for exchange of books is installed on the property next to the schoolhouse. Lee Wilson, member of the Avon Historical Society, built it. Even though the schoolhouse is closed for the summer, books of all kinds can be shared year round using this new addition.
Lastly, a new seven-foot tall roadside marker noting the Pine Grove Historic District is installed near the corner of the property. The William G. Pomeroy Foundation donated it.
The Avon Historical Society hopes that even though the schoolhouse is closed this summer, residents will stop by, have their photo taken, share or take a book or two and view the property from the outside and please visit next summer in 2021!
Little Library installed at Pine Grove Schoolhouse in Avon
Keeping busy during the pandemic led Lee Wilson of Avon to build a little library for public use at the 1865 Pine Grove Schoolhouse on Harris Road. These are small boxes for a book exchange for anyone to use and enjoy. A bottle of hand sanitizer is inside. It is open year round. It will be named soon and registered with Little Free Library, a non-profit organization that has over 100,000 little libraries located worldwide! Feel free to take a book or share a book! Avon Historical Society members present (socially distant and with masks) when it was installed in early June were: (L-R) Lee Wilson, Terri Wilson, Ben Isaacson, Brian Malone and Jeannie Parker. Photo courtesy of Deb Key Imagery.
Paleo-Indian site found along the river under new bridge on Old Farms Road, Avon, CT
With permission from the CT Department of Transportation, below is a detailed press release and photos, about a recently discovered Paleo-Indian site (~12,500 years ago = 10,000 BC). It was found earlier this year, along the Farmington River, during the construction of the new bridge at Old Farms and Waterville Roads. Be advised, the site is not visible as construction has now covered it.
Contact for more information is provided at the end of the release.
The Avon Historical Society, Town of Avon, and Avon Free Public Library will be working together, with the appropriate state agency, on a public presentation of the discovery in early 2020.
Read the Press Release
Deeds Not Words: 100 Years of Suffrage for Women .launched at the Avon Free Public Library
On November 16, 2019, the year-long series entitled, Deeds Not Words: 100 Years of Suffrage for Women
was launched at the Avon Free Public Library. Joining the distinguished lecturer (seated) Susan Ware, author of the recently published book WHY THEY MARCHED...Untold Stories of the Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote
(2019 Harvard Univ. Press) are committee members (left to right) Anne Fitzgerald, Tina Panik, Terri Wilson, Jen Bennett and Gene Macy. Missing from the photo were Deb Key and Nora Howard. The DEEDS series offers a wide variety of events including movies, book talks, first person historical portrayals, roundtable discussions, music, exhibits and much more. Sponsored with a grant by CT Humanities, the DEEDS series is organized and presented now through October 2020 by the Avon Historical Society, Avon Free Public Library and Avon Senior Center. All events are open to the public, free of charge. For more information visit: www.avonlibrary.info or the website or Facebook page of the Avon Historical Society.
Photo courtesy of Deb Key Imagery.
Avon Historical Society creates banners highlighting Avon’s history, on sidewalk light poles along Simsbury Road (Route 10)
The Avon Historical Society has taken their mission to promote local history to the next level by creating twelve 18” wide by 36” tall brightly colored, vinyl double-sided banners recently installed on new sidewalk light poles along the eastern side of Simsbury Road from the entrance to Sperry Park south to Route 44.
These banners provide a bit of history for walkers and bikers who use that sidewalk in the original center of Avon. They depict historic sites, past and present, most of which should be recognizable those familiar with the Town of Avon. For those less familiar, it will be a subtle and inviting way to share with them a bit of the Town’s past.
The banners follow a set of 7’ tall pop up banners that are now circulating around the Town in public places such as lobbies, restaurants, etc., entitled, “Moments in Avon’s History.” Those stand-up banners, with text and images, illustrate various themes such as “Education in Avon,” “Industry in Avon,” etc. They have been very well received by the public and many of the images used on them are also on the pole banners such as the 1865 Pine Grove Schoolhouse, the Ensign Bickford factory and Veterans Memorial. The pole banners are much simpler – the word AVON in a large block font is at the top, one photo in either color or black and white is in the middle, with the title of the object in block lettering underneath the photo. The logo of the Avon Historical Society is along the bottom. They hang 7 feet above the ground on light poles next to the new sidewalk on the eastern side of Simsbury Road. The sidewalk and light poles were installed by the Town of Avon in 2016 and were funded by a Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grant from the State of Connecticut. “The Town is pleased that the Historical Society decided to once again share its passion for Avon’s local history with the public. These banners will certainly add to the sense of place that the Town seeks to create in the Avon Village Center area,” said Town Manager Brandon Robertson.
Production funding of the banners comes from the proceeds of TABLESCAPES, the annual decorated tabletop event organized by The Avon Historical Society every March. Special thanks to Exhibits and More of Liverpool, New York, for donating the banner designs and layouts and the Avon Department of Public Works for installing them. They are will remain in place from the spring through the fall each year.
The Avon Historical Society is in its 45th year with the mission to preserve Avon's culture, traditions and heritage. Promoting the history of the Town of Avon to walkers and bikers along Simsbury Road is one more step toward honoring its rich heritage. The Society has an open membership and encourages anyone with an interest in local history to join.
Avon Historical Society seeks corporate donations, in exchange for tax credits, to renovate their 1823 one-room schoolhouse for use as a museum once again!
The Avon Historical Society, in partnership with the Town of Avon, owner of Schoolhouse No. 3 located at 8 East Main Street (Route 44) in Avon, has submitted a Neighborhood Assistance Act application to the CT Department of Revenue Services seeking Energy Efficient Improvement funding in the amount of $91,000 from the private sector in exchange for tax credits.
In 1981 the Avon Historical Society signed a lease agreement with the Town of Avon which resulted in the relocation, one year later, of an 1823 one-room schoolhouse from Country Club Road to its current location at 8 East Main Street (Route 44). The building is the oldest structure owned by the Town of Avon and is listed on the State Register of Historic Places. The Society opened it as “The Living Museum” in 1985 welcoming visitors on Sunday afternoons until it was closed in 2012.
“The decision to close the Living Museum was timely,” said Historical Society President, Terri Wilson, “because the exhibit installed inside needed to be updated and the Museum’s collection had grown beyond its limited storage capacity.” In 2018 the Society’s Board of Trustees decided to return it to a fully functioning museum, with climate controlled archival storage, proper security system and other upgrades, in time for its 200th anniversary in 2023.
The Town of Avon and the Avon Historical Society have created a multi-year capital improvement plan for this one room schoolhouse, including both exterior projects that will seal the envelope of the building to make the structure more energy efficient and environmentally sustainable, and interior projects that will encourage the preservation of critical historic artifacts that define Avon’s character. The Town has budgeted some funds in its Capital Improvement Budget and the Society has committed similar matching funds, but it is not enough to do everything needed. Funds obtained from the Neighborhood Assistance Act will allow the Historical Society to complete the much needed energy efficiency improvements to the structure including the installation of new energy efficient windows, new siding, new roof, new doors, a chimney cap, as well as renovations to the restroom, and an LED lighting upgrade.
“The Town is very pleased to partner with the Historical Society to implement the Schoolhouse No. 3 Capital Improvement Plan in time for the structure’s 200th anniversary in 2023. The adaptive reuse of this structure will preserve this important property for future generations of Avon residents, while making it more appealing and appropriate for the Historical Society’s current programming,” said Town Manager Brandon Robertson.
The Neighborhood Assistance Act permits businesses that donate to these sorts of projects to apply for a tax credit matching their donation. Funding can come from one business or several. To make a donation, interested businesses should submit a complete NAA-2 form (available at https://portal.ct.gov/DRS/Credit-Programs/Neighborhood-Assistance/Neighborhood-Assistance-Act-Tax-Credit-Program) and submit the NAA-2 form to the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services either via email or USPS to the addresses indicated at the top of the form. NAA-2 forms may be submitted on or after September 15, 2019 but no later than October 1, 2019.
Please contact the Historical Society at (860) 678-7621 to ask questions, to obtain the NAA-2 form, or to schedule an appointment to tour the schoolhouse.
Avon Historical Society receives a $2,000 Donation!
American Eagle Financial Credit Union, Connecticut’s largest community-focused credit union, hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 24th at its new Avon office, located at 427 West Avon Road. As part of the ribbon-cutting festivities, American Eagle announced $2,000 donations to six Avon nonprofit agencies. The Avon Historical Society was one of the recipients! Presenting the big check donation was American Eagle President and Chief Executive Officer Dean Marchessault to Terri Wilson, president of the Society and Mary Harrop, Board Trustee.
Avon Historical Society and Avon Free Public Library honor local organizations for support of “Moments in Avon’s History”
Funded through a grant by CT Humanities
Attending a recent ceremony of appreciation for displaying the “Moments in Avon’s History” banners are (L-R):
Norm Sondheimer, manager of the banner project for the Society; Nora Howard, Town Historian; Glenn Grube, Director, Avon Free Public Library; Jeffrey Hoess-Brooks, General Manager, Avon Old Farms Hotel; Andrius Plankis, owner Dom’s Coffee; Nicholas Chabot, owner The North House; Dr. Bridget Heston Carnemolla, Superintendent of Avon Schools; Brandon Robertson, Town Manager; and Terri Wilson, President, Avon Historical Society. (Click on image to enlarge.)
The Avon Historical Society, in partnership with the Avon Free Public Library, recently honored local businesses and public offices for displaying “Moments in Avon’s History” over the last year. The displays featured 12 colorful and educational portable banners, seven feet in height, each telling a different aspect of Avon’s history, with historic and current photos, covering topics such as early education, agriculture, religion, and transportation. These portable banners were rotated through seven sites in Avon during the past 18 months. They brought history “on the road” to town offices, businesses and schools to pique the interest of the general public about the town’s rich heritage and history.
Businesses who displayed the banners were the Avon Old Farms Hotel, the North House Restaurant, Dom’s Coffee, the Avon Helen & Harry Gray Cancer Center and Rushford | Avon. The banners were also rotated through the town offices, the Avon schools, the Avon Congregational Church and the West Avon Congregational Church.
“We are very proud of our local history here in Avon,” reports Town Manager, Brandon Robertson. “By displaying banners from the ‘Moments in Avon History’ project, the Town, and many local businesses, help to bring snapshots of our community’s unique historical narrative directly to residents and visitors in the midst of their daily activities.”
"We strive to cultivate a passion for learning that is connected to real-world experiences: the study of our history provides the ideal basis for this goal,” comments Dr. Bridget Heston Carnemolla, Avon’s Superintendent of Schools. “I am proud of our partnership with the Avon Historical Society and our shared commitment to educating our next generation of civic-minded citizens."
“The banners are a great way to showcase the history of Avon to our guests. They immediately attracted guests’ attention when walking by them,” observed Nicholas Chabot, the owner of Avon’s The North House. “We were very proud to be a part of this project.”
Other organizations displaying banners included the Avon Old Farms Hotel, Dom’s Coffee, Helen & Harry Gray Cancer Center, and Rushford, part of Hartford HealthCare’s Behavioral Health Network.
The banners creation was funded by the CT Humanities. Exhibits and More of Liverpool, NY, a professional graphic arts firm, donated the design of each banner using specifications from the National Park Service.
Please visit our Banners Page
for more information.
Images from Tablescapes 2019, the Annual Fundraiser held every March, for the Avon Historical Society