Chapter 1: GeographyJune 2, 2017
The Amistad Captives: Freedom on TrialJune 23, 2017
My Town: Avon
Where is my town?
Avon is in the middle of Connecticut. It is surrounded by six towns. Avon was originally part of Farmington.
The Farmington River runs through town—twice! It forms the town’s western border. There, the river flows south. The river loops around in Farmington. It then flows north through the eastern side of Avon.
A ridge of mountains forms the town’s eastern border. The Metacomet Ridge runs from Long Island Sound to the border of Vermont. Avon Mountain and Talcott Mountain are part of that ridge.
How was it founded?
The Tunxis Indians lived in the area. The English settlers purchased land from the Tunxis.
Farmington became a town in 1645. By 1750, the General Assembly approved a separate parish. It was named Northington. The name blends “North” and “Farming-town.” The first meetinghouse was built in Northington in 1754.
Farmington and the seven towns that were once part of it.
Northington became a separate town with a new name—Avon—in 1830. The new name came from the River Avon in England.
How did it grow?
Sunrise Farm, Avon. Photo: Liz Neff, Connecticut Barns
At first, Avon was a farming community. Most families produced only enough food for their own use. Children went to school in one of seven one-room schools.
A turnpike was built through town in 1799. It linked Boston, Massachusetts to Albany, New York.
Pine Grove School, Avon. Photo: Janet M. Conner
The Farmington Canal was built through town in 1828. It linked New Haven to Massachusetts. The canal created economic opportunity. Farmers could ship produce, lumber, wood shingles, cheese, dairy, and other products to distant towns.
The canal inspired the town’s incorporation. The canal operated until 1847. It was leaky and often needed repairs. By 1848 the canal had closed.
A railroad was built in 1850 where the canal used to be. The railroad was faster and more dependable.
How do its residents make a living?
Manufacturing came to town. The Climax Fuse Company was founded in 1884. It made a safer kind of fuse. (A fuse makes explosives explode.) People came from Italy, Ireland, Eastern Europe, and Germany to work on the farms and in the factories.
Avon grew after World War II. Along Albany Turnpike (now known as Route 44), stores, restaurants, car dealerships, gas stations, and a hotel were built. Today, many people in Avon commute to work in Hartford.
The Avon town seal includes a picture of the canal.
Who are its notable people?
Joseph W. Alsop IV and Corrine Robinson Alsop had a large farm in Avon. Joseph founded Covenant Insurance Company. Corrine was the niece of President Theodore Roosevelt. Joseph was a state representative from 1907 to 1908, and a state senator from 1909 to 1912. Women won the right to vote in 1920. Soon after, Corrine was elected state representative. She served from 1924 to 1927 and again from 1931 to 1933.
Theodate Pope Riddle of Farmington built Avon Old Farms School in 1927. Avon Old Farms School is a private school for boys.
Avon Old Farms School was designed by Theodate Pope Riddle of Farmington to look like an old English farm. photo: Janet M. Conner
Avon Old Farms School, c. 1930s. Library of Congress
We thank Janet M. Conner and Avon Historical Society for assisting with “My Town: Avon.”