Minutes of the Avon Historical Society, 4-4-07

The meeting of the Avon Historical Society was called to order by President Jack Smith at 7:08 pm at the Old Town Hall. About 25 members and guests were present.

George Bliss moved to approve the March 7, 2007, meeting minutes. Jim Szippl seconded. Motion passed.

In the delayed absence of Treasurer Barb Wolfe, Jean Fisher said there was $506.73 in the checking account; $6,321.10 in a C.D.

Jack reported on the progress of saving the Avon Center Schoolhouse which was built in 1910. Although Ron Larson has no written contract with developer Greg Romes, the proposal to move the school to Old Avon Village has been broached with Romes. Ron was at the Zoning Board of Appeals meeting (4-4-07) at the time of the Historical Society meeting. A variance is needed to fit the building among the other historic buildings at the site. Ron was eager to have all in order so when the actual move time arrives, the transition can be smooth.

Membership chairman Theresa Szippl said there are 169 members of the AHS. Ten new members joined in response so far to the circular about the Society distributed with the Press newspaper.

Joe Richvalsky reported that the Landmarks Preservation Commission authorized one demolition -- the Westgate house on Detroit Road at the site of one of the new shopping centers. During discussion it was pointed out that the rich topsoil of the area is being paved over.

Jim Szippl and Joe Richvalsky reported on the progress of the Landscaping Committee. The property has been plotted for exactness. Communication with the city has been established to keep the administration informed of proposed changes and to encourage their participation and assistance.

Quotes are being sought for Phase 1, removing old shrubbery, railroad ties, stumps, etc. Local landscaping businesses will be contacted for their input.

Jack encouraged the committee to maintain the unpaved east parking lot and establish a walkway from the south parking lot.

Although the Landscaping Committee is dealing with only the landscaping; others are looking into problems with the building itself. Ralph White will seek help in overhauling the broken bulletin board attached to the Hall. Joe suggested it be free standing, not attached.

Jim moved that the AHS authorize the purchase of materials to do the bulletin Board. George Bliss seconded. Motion passed.

Jack spoke of the WW I plaque with the names of solders that had been on the building. It is now located at Mound Cemetery among the other war memorials. Ralph will check on getting a replica of the plaque. There was discussion on whether that would be appropriate in restoring the building to its original form.

Jim said the spouting need to be replaced and was a more pressing need.

Another committee meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 10 at 7 pm at Old Town Hall. Joe said he hoped the committee would have a final plan available for the Society at the May meeting.

A clean up date has been set for 9 am on Saturday, April 21. Members are to bring their own tools -- rakes, clippers, etc.

Jean Fisher moved to adjourn. Ralph White seconded.

Jean introduced program performer Gary Gerrone from the Lorain County Metroparks. He sang songs of the Civil War, played the guitar, and gave historical background for familiar songs.

Respectfully submitted, JoAnne Easterday

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AVON HISTORICAL SOCIETY PROPOSED AGENDA, May 2, 2007

I. Reading of the minutes of the meeting of April 4, 2007.

II. Treasurer's Report

A. Any outstanding bills to present.

III. Old Business

A. Avon Center School, Ron Larson

B. Membership Committee Report, Theresa Szippl (Schedule next committee meeting?)

C. Report from the Landmarks Preservation Commission, Bob Gates

D. Landscaping Committee, Chuck Huene

E.

IV. New Business

A. On Wednesday, 6-6-07, the Avon Historical Society will meet at 7 pm in the Old Town Hall of 1871, corner of Detroit Road and Stoney Ridge Roads. Plaques will be presented by the Landmarks Preservation Commission for some Avon century homes. For more information, contact Carol Hartwig at 934-2207.

V. Motion to adjourn

Jean Fischer will introduce Rodney Beal of the Black River Historical Society will speak about "Lilac Time."

NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 6-7-2007, By Megan King, Morning Journal Writer

``Landmarks Commission gives 100 plaques to homeowners

AVON -- Although it may seem that just about everything in Avon is new, a group of city residents gathered last night to celebrate part of Avon that's old - more than 100 years to be exact.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission at the Avon Historical Society [meeting] awarded about 100 plaques to Avon's historic century homes. There are about 200 homes in total, half of which had already recieved their plaques, Avon Historical Society President Jack Smith said yesterday.

Smith said the homes were selected to be on the city's list of historic buildings by a professional preservationist. A home being declared historic on the city's register means anyone wanting to demolish the home would have to appeal to the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission or have a six month waiting period before a home can be demolished.

Most of the homes on the register are farm houses, Smith said, because Avon was originally a farming community from its founding in 1814 until about 1970. "The farm house is the essential historical house. This is Avon's history, and so ... we're trying to save farm houses."

Preservationist Steve McQuillin, who chooses the buildings that go on the city's historic register, said buildings are chosen that have special representation, such as that of the early settlers of Avon, or are a particular type of architecture that "makes them of value to the people of Avon."

Among the city's most prominent century homes that have been given plaques are the Wilbur Cahoon House, which was built by Avon's first settler, Wilbur Cahoon, on Stoney Ridge Road; and Stone Eagle Farm on Detroit Road, which is being developed into a bed and breakfast by Olde Avon Village owner Ron Larson.

Stone Eagle Farm was built by William Hurst in the 1840s and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1974, according to the farm's Web site: http://www.stoneeaglefarm.com/

The Wilbur Cahoon home, whose architecture is "classic Greek revival," according to owner Jean Fischer, is a farm house built in 1825 and bought by the Fischers in 1966. It is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. The home features a gable that faces the street, pilasters, representing Greek columns on the sides, and a traditional window with 12 panes of glass.

"I just happened to be driving by and the house was for sale, and I thought it wasa beautiful home. And the lot being on French Creek, it's a beautiful park-like setting with the creek running behind us," Fischer said. Fischer said she has found some historical items behind her home, including a lapel button that appeared to be from the anti-slavery movement.

Fischer said she became involved with the Avon Historical Society shortly after moving to Avon. "I became so interested in the history of the house and the city and we just became entrenched with the people and the city so it was a good fit," she said.

One home the historical society hopes to preserve is the Avon Center School at SR 83 and Detroit Road where developers Greg Romes plans to build a shopping center. Romes has applied for a demolition permit for the building, but Larson has offered to have the building moved to Olde Avon Village if an agreement is not reached to keep it in place.''

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