Minutes of the Avon Historical Society, 2-1-06


LETTER to Mayor James A. Smith

President Jack Smith opened the February 1, 2006, meeting of the Avon Historical Society at 7:00 p.m. at The Old Town Hall with 31 members and guests present.

As the first order of business he asked the secretary to read the minutes of the previous meeting of November 2, 2005. Following the reading of the minutes the president asked if there were any additions or corrections to the minutes as read. There being none, a motion to approve the minutes was made by John Bender, seconded by Jane Voelker and by voice vote unanimously approved.

Jack then called Jean Fischer to give the treasurer's report in Barb Wolfe's absence. Jean reported that as of this evening there is a balance of $2,509.51 in our checking account and $6,110.52 in the money market account.

The president inquired if there were any outstanding bills and Dr. Fischer presented a bill for $146.92 to cover the cost of the recent mailings to members as well as a bill for $54.96 from Jim Szippl for the cost of beverages for the Christmas part. A motion to pay these bills was made by Stan Hawryluk and seconded by Carla Wible and by voice vote unanimously passed by the members present.

Next the president reported that the old fire station garage attached to The Old Town Hall now has a new roof that will not leak. However, we still need shingles. Also, Jerry Plas, service director stopped in and said that the garage door on there is practically worthless. It is almost impossible to lift the door as it is off the track also. He suggested we discuss the need for a new door on the garage at tonight's meeting to see if we agreed.

There was a short discussion regarding what the door would look like and everyone agreed that we would like to have a door that was authentic as possible with the style of the building. It was decided that we could look around for door styles that would compliment the building; that Jerry would be contacted and give the o.k. to the city to replace the door and; to inquire of Jerry if we could have a little imput on what the door would look like.

Jack then called on Ralph White to report on the progress regarding Avon Isle. Ralph reported that the county landmarks application was approved today. We will receive a plaque and the Avon Isle has been approved by the county as a historical building.

Work is continuing on the application paper work for it to be put on the National Registry of Historic Place, but having done the Lorain County application, Ralph stated that he now has gotten his feet wet with the local easier application, he will now tackle the huge cumbersome national application. Ralph has learned through this process that Avon Isle may be the last dance hall left in Ohio.

Right now Ralph is working with Mike Bramhall regarding the survey and Mayor Smith is happy to having the Avon Isle put on the county registry. The water leak has been fixed and eventually Ralph feels that we will be successful. What makes the building extraordinarily valuable is that it still has the original windows and floors. However, Ralph is in need of black and white photos of the building to include in the application so if anyone can help in that regard it would be appreciated. Talk to Ralph after the meeting. The president thanked Ralph for all of his hard work thus far on this project.

Next Ralph reported on the North Ridge Scenic By-Way and stated that the application that was a joint effort with the Sheffield Historical Society has been submitted. Ralph has a copy of the very professional impressive bound application for everyone to see. He stated further that we are not waiting for the state to make the next move.

In response to a question, he stated that the North Ridge Scenic By-Way extends from the Sheffield border at Route 57 through Avon to the Westlake border on Detroit Road. Needless to say, Avon has the most extensive length, 6 miles, but Sheffield wanted to be a part of it; and they shared in the work that produced the impressive application.

Ralph further stated that he will attending the Planning Commission meeting this coming Monday night and encouraged others to attend if they can. He has heard that John Gasior is already preparing a special use permit for the bus garage to be built by Heritage North School. After that goes through then Schafer will get approval for his special use permit and them Greg Romes will get approval and so on down the line. Detroit Road will then become just like Great Northern Boulevard. It's a simple domino effect that we won't be able to stop.

Next the president called on Joe Richvalsky to give us an update on the progress being made with the Williams House. Joe stated that the project is going forward and he has been consulting with Tom Kelley the owner reviewing drawings by the architect and Joe has given him his feedback. They also toured the Fischer home to see how the Williams house could be restored in like manner. Next the architect will submit the drawings to the city for approval and then the drawings will become available to the public to view. Joe will keep us informed on what's going on.

Next Mary Ann Littell gave a summary of the club's visit to the Sacred Landmarks exhibit at Stocker Center at Lorain County Community College in November. It was a wonderful exhibit that was thoroughly enjoyed by those who came.

Jean Fisher next reported on another successful Christmas in the Old Town Hall with Santa. It was estimated that we had close to 200 parents and children who were served hot chocolate and received a gift from Santa and the Avon Lions Club.

Nancy McGhee reported that the annual Christmas party at the Avon VFW was also successful with close to 60 people in attendance.

Jack next reported that he and Dr. Fischer will be presenting the Avon Story of 1974 video at St. Mary of the Woods on 2-2-06.

There being no further business to attend to the president entertained a motion to adjourn the meeting by Dr. Fisher and seconded by Toni Barnhart and by voice vote the motion was unanimously approved.

Jack then announced that we would be viewing a video of Avon resident Ruth Plas as part of our oral history project and Ruth will be available for questions afterward.

Respectfully submitted, Nancy McGhee, Secretary

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March 1, 2006

I. Reading of minutes of meeting of February 1, 2006.

Motion to approve and second.

II. Treasurer's Report

A. Any outstanding bills to present.

III. Old Business

A. Norton S. Townshend video committee, Del Fischer (more committee members are welcome)

B. Detroit Road Ohio Scenic Byway, Ralph White

C. Report from the Landmarks Preservation Commission, Bob Gates

D. Update on the Williams House, Joe Richvalsky

E. Repair of fire station roof, Jack Smith (Thankyou to Kerry Barvincak, 37937 Detroit, for the new sign for the fire station.)

F. Report on progress of Avon Isle application, etc., Ralph White

H. __________________________________________

IV. New Business

A. Jack and Dr. Fischer will be presenting the Homespun Years video at St. Mary of the Woods on 3-9-06.

B. At our meeting on Wednesday, April 5, 2006, Mr. Thomas Eakin will be presented with an appreciation plaque from us for his financial gifts to us. He will speak on historical highlights in his life -- comment by Jean Fischer.

C. __________________________________________

V. Motion to Adjourn and Second

Jack Smith will introduce the Oral History Project interview with Hugh Gough. Hugh wii be available to answer questions.

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LETTER to James A. Smith, Mayor, City of Avon

From Marilyn Fedelchak Harley, Lorain County Preservation Network, 509 Washington Ave., Elyria, Ohio 44035

440-322-3341 or 440-774-7404

The Lorain County Preservation Network consists of organizations and individuals who work to build a preservation ethic among Lorain County property owners and public officials. Network members seek to advance their knowledge and skills to promote the preservation of historic structures as a significant component of Lorain County's future.

January 31, 2006,

Honorable James A. Smith

Mayor, City of Avon

36080 Chester Road

Avon, Ohio 44011

Dear Mayor Smith,

I am delighted to inform you that the Avon structure known as Avon Isle has been designated a Lorain County Historic Landmark. I enclose a copy of my letter of recommendation to the Landmark Committee. As you can read, Avon Isle is considered to meet each of the criteria without qualification or hesitation. The network welcomes you to this important list of Lorain County structures.

We are in discussion with a foundry in Pennsylvania to produce our cast-metal plaques. They should be available for purchase in early March. I will be pleased to make arrangements for whatever "event" or presentation you choose to publicly acknowledge this award.

Avon is truly fortunate to have dedicated citizens such as Ralph White who care about and are willing to commit time to historic preservation projects. The network stands ready to provide you with assistance in your ongoing efforts to

Preserve and rehabilitate this and other historic structures. Please call me with any questions you have about Avon Isle or other historic preservation activities.

Sincerely, Marilyn Fedelchak Harley

cc: Ralph White

Carol Hartwig, Chair, Landmarks Preservation Commission


Lorain County Preservation Network

Protecting the past for the county's future

Participants: Avon Historical Society, Avon Lake Landmark Preservation Society, Black River Historical Society, Brownhelm Historic Association, City of Elyria, Elyria Biographical and Historical Commission, Elyria Landmarks Commission, Friends of 45, Lorain County Community Development Department, Lorain County Historical Society, North Ridgeville Historical Society, Preservation Resource Center/CRS, South Elyria Neighborhood Development Corporation, Sheffield Village Historical Society, Vermilion-on-the-Lake Lot Owners Association.


Recommendation for Lorain County Historic Landmark Status For Avon Isle

I request approval by members of the Landmark Committee to list Avon Isle on the Historic Landmark Register.

Reasons are as follows:

Age: Built in 1926, it thus qualifies under this criteria.

Integrity: This building has experienced remarkably few changes to its appearance since construction. The building’s overall dimensions, floor plan, height, windows, front porch, foundation stone and exterior clapboard siding are all original. The roof material, front doors and the enclosure of the rear section of the porch are the visible changes. The building qualifies under this criteria.

Significance: The site itself, with Detroit Road and French Creek defining its boundaries, dates to the 1870s when it was used as fairgrounds for Avon Pioneers and Farmers.

The Dance Pavilion, or Avon Isle, was built by F. J. Roth in 1926. Over the years this was a social center for Avon and surrounding communities. Big bands, silent films, boxing matches, dances, Fire Department festivals, parties, square dancing and bingo games were some of the many recreational pleasures enjoyed there.

Throughout its life it was bought and then sold many times, and while various owners emphasized different activities, its essential recreational function did not change. In 1979 the doors were closed and the building sat empty as it continued to change hands and experience a few improvements.

In 1997 the City of Avon purchased the property for $285,000 and moved in their recreation department. The department used it for offices and various recreation activities. While the department has since moved to a new location they continue to maintain and allow various groups to use it such as practice for a local award-winning drill team. The city has discussed rehabilitation and an expanded range of community uses, both public and private.

On the basis of its almost 80-year history as the center of community recreation and entertainment, Avon Isle meets the criteria of significance.

As staff for the Lorain County Preservation Network, I recommend approval of Avon Isle as a Lorain County Historic Landmark and request concurrence by the Landmark Committee (one person, one vote per participant organization).

Submitted by: Marilyn Fedelchak Harley; January 17, 2006

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