Divided from neighboring West Hartford by the Metacomet Ridge, Avon retains an English flavor, resonating the River Avon in England from which it derives its name. It was settled in 1654, in the Tunxis valley, by several families who bought the land area from the confederation of River Indians who had been inhabitants over the past 10,000 years. It originated as Northington – a northern parish of the town of Farmington. In 1830 it was sold to the Puritans and incorporated under its current name. Avon is today a very picturesque New England town that grew from its village-like origins and prospered along the wooded banks and meadows of the Farmington River. To this day, the Town Seal embraces the Towpath Canal as its central emblem, depicting its early significance as an inland port.
In her treatise, A Brief History of Avon, 1830 to 2005, Nora Howard, the Avon Town Historian interestingly traces the area’s natural, geological and geographical metamorphoses through the millennia; the advent and departures of the different dinosaur, glacial, volcanic and mastodon eras, to its present avatar – a mellow, beautiful, intrinsically New England icon. The topography of Avon alters from the western highlands to the border with Canton, demarcated by the west branch of the Farmington River. Talcott Mountain peak on the West Hartford border is at 950 feet asl. The central lowlands in the Farmington River Valley are bounded by the east branch of the Farmington River.
Historically, Avon was situated at the dynamic cross-roads of major turnpikes connecting important towns along their routes. This led to growth and development, as did its “level fertile tracts of land” and the continuous tides of immigrants from Italy, Ireland, Eastern Europe, and Germany. These factors resulted in thriving dairy, poultry and tobacco farms, advancing with the march of progress to improvements in manufacturing, industry and education. Some of these early occupations and professions are manifest in actual practice and historical landmarks even today.
The 1778 First Company Horse Guards still operates. The erstwhile Ensign-Bickford Company fuse factory buildings are offices and workshops. The diaries of Reverend Rufus Hawley, covering 1767-1812, and the journals and notebooks of Frank Hadsell, covering 1845-1942, along with glass plate negative photographs taken by him and his brother Clinton are extant today and provide a fascinating insight into early Avon history. Other reminders are the Farmington Canal, the railroad, and Albany Turnpike (Route 44). The Avon Historical Society has restored Pine Grove Schoolhouse, the Living Museum, and the Derrin House, a circa 1810 farmhouse. Grim reminders of losses in preceding wars are inscripted into the Avon Veterans Memorial on the Town Green.www.avonct.us
The town, eschewing big city encroachments of steel and concrete has many parks and recreation areas that yield plenty of opportunity for outdoor activities throughout the year. Alsop Meadows, Buckingham Road Recreation Area, Countryside Park, Fisher Meadows, Hazen Park, Huckleberry Hill Recreation Area, Sperry Park, Sycamore, Hills, Recreation Area, the Town Green, River Park, Farmington Valley Greenway, are all largely natural, partially developed or undeveloped areas consisting of woods and open meadows for walking, hiking, jogging, cross country skiing, canoeing and camping (with permission). There are all-purpose sports fields, children’s playgrounds, ponds and lakes, etc. used for picnicking, carnivals, fishing and boating.
Avon has a vibrant population, a diverse business and retail community, beautiful parks and neighborhoods and one of the best rated school systems in Connecticut. As a suburb of the capital city, it has access to all the cultural offerings of Hartford such as The Bushnell Theater and the Wadsworth Athenaeum. Due to the excellent quality of life it offers Avon is the fastest growing town in the Farmington Valley and a highly desirable place to live in.