Avon is a community
in Western New York State situated on the east bank of the Genesee
River in the northern-most section of Livingston County. The
first permanent settlement was made in 1789 at the river where
Gilbert and Maria Berry built a log tavern and later operated
a rope ferry. Dr. Timothy Hosmer and Major Isaiah Thompson with
three associates from Connecticut purchased the land that is
now Avon and Rush. They named their community Hartford, a name
that was later changed to Avon (1808) to distinguish it from
another community in the state. The town was formally organized
in 1797, and the village was incorporated in 1853.
The area was well
known to native peoples, hunters, trappers, explorers and missionaries
who used the main trail across what is now New York State. That
"trail" passes through Avon. During the Nineteenth
Century Avon was famous for its mineral springs, with large
hotels, bathhouses and recreational facilities built to accommodate
the many who sought health cures from the rich sulphur waters.
Railroads, both passenger
and freight, were prominent in the development of Avon. On July
21, 1853, passenger service between Avon and New York City opened
with great fanfare. "
This road being broad gauge,
and running direct to Avon Springs, is the most comfortable
and expeditious route from New York to that place
Though passenger service is no longer available, the LAL (Livonia,
Avon and Lakeville) is a successful short line offering shippers
an alternative or supplement to truck transport and a connection
to the national railway systems.
Major highways serve
the people of Avon as well as those who visit the community,
with Routes 5 and 20, Route 15 and Interstate 90 all offering
There has been considerable
effort on the parts of both Town and Village to maintain a balance
in this beautiful Genesee Valley community among residential
development, farming, industrial and commercial interests.
Visitors will enjoy
the opportunity to explore the parks, including the Park Circle
with its memorials to those who have fought for our country,
Gilbert Berry Park with access to the Genesee River, Avon Driving
Park, the site of early development at the Lower Spring, Papermill
Park in its lovely rural setting, and others. Landmarks to watch
for include, among others, the Five Arch Bridge, Civil War cenotaph,
the Avon Inn, remaining from Spa days, the Opera Block with
its historic public performance space, and the marker identifying
the site of the first mill in the Genesee Valley.
Preston, Marie C. Avon, Heart of the Genesee Country. Geneseo,
NY: Sanders, 1976
Maureen P. Kingston, Historian, Town of Avon, New York