Minutes of the Avon Historical Society,
February 4, 2002

President Jack Smith opened the February 4, 2002 meeting of the Avon Historical Society at 7:00 p.m. with 30 members present.

As a first order of business Jack asked the secretary to read the minutes from the last meeting. Upon a motion by Anna Allen and seconded by Theresa Szipple, the minutes were approved as read.

In the absence of treasurer, Barbara Wolf Jack asked Jean Fischer to give the treasurer's report. Jean reported that there were no changes from the figures reported from the last meeting. He then asked if there were any outstanding bills to present for payment this evening - and there were none.

Beginning with committee reports Jim Szipple continues to obtain bids, etc., for the repair of the front steps, but nothing can be done on the steps until spring.

Next Jack reported that most of the electrical work had been completed and the new circuit box is in. Also the electricians were able to rewire the building saving the old switches which we were very happy with. The only thing remaining is to install the 220 volt line in the basement to handle the air conditioning. At that time Terry Mitchell can begin installing the air conditioning.

Moving ahead Jack reported that Bill Furnace has volunteered to assist the Lorain County Historical Society to produce a video tape to advertise the Bicentennial event in our area.

Ray DeChant explains the model of a DeChant family farm to Dr. Del Fischer. This farm model will be one of Avon's displays at the Bicentennial show to be held during April, May, and June, 2003, at the French Creek Nature Center.

Also regarding the Bicentennial celebration, we did receive a grant of $1,865.00 but this money is to be used strictly for the preparation of DVD's and video tapes from our existing video tapes and the Avon Story slide show. That project is already underway and being edited and done in a professional manner and then will be transferred to the DVD's and video tapes.

Jack further reported that there were 2 very important upcoming meetings - Thursday, February 21, 2002 at the Amherst Grange there will be a committee meeting for the water wheel project for the Bicentennial exhibit. Be reminded that this will be a 10-foot water wheel fully operational with water running over it that will be displayed at the Metro Parks Exhibit Hall.

We are working with Brownhelm on this joint project and they will have an entire model of a mill. Be reminded once again that we will be needing assistance with gathering artifacts for our exhibit also.

Left to right: Dr. Del Fischer, Avon artist Rose Mitock, and Council President Tom Wearsch at the Avon Council meeting of 1-28-02. Photo courtesy of The PRESS.

The second meeting coming up will be Thursday, February 28, 2002 at the Metro Parks which will also deal with the Bicentennial. We are beginning to structure our ideas and will be seeking significant artifacts for more recent times - the 20's, 30's, 40's etc., This period will be featuring artifacts of the Garfield automobile that was manufactured in Elyria.

We also have a particular interest in the Avon Isle and would like to see the Avon Isle in that segment of the display. So if anyone has any artifacts or pictures of Avon Isle to loan we would be most appreciative.

[Note: Ray Young has volunteered to assist in making the Avon Isle display for the Bicentennial show at the French Creek Nature Center]

Also the city is applying for a $700,000.00 grant to renovate Avon Isle, rebuild the bridge on the Detroit Road entrance and create a foot bridge from the parking lot on Colorado Avenue and going over to Avon Isle. The city would like us to publicize and cooperate in this effort and we have told them that we are interested also in having the Avon Isle maintained and will assist where we can.

Jack then returned to the Bicentennial celebration and added that the program will run from April through June of 2003 and our Avon club will have the entire place available to our club exclusively for 2 or 3 nights during this time. We have time to work on this but we can have our own reception for city officials and other dignitaries on one night, a city-wide social another night, etc.,

Once again our participation will be divided into 2 parts: 1) the water wheel dating from the 1830's and 2) 1900 through 1950 which exhibit will feature our Avon Isle Park.

Beginning with committee reports Jack stated that the historical construction committee made of Dr. Fischer and John Eldred are currently working on gathering and organizing factual documentation of the look and feel of the French Creek District. Then we can supply materials to anyone who wants to come in and establish a business, etc., We can show them photos and materials of how we would like things to continue to look.

We have also recently come into possession of a video tape that was taken of the Detroit Road area in the 1980's that will be invaluable in assisting us with this project. [Note: Ann Bort donated the tape to us.]

Rose Mitock paintings donated to the City of Avon. Photo courtesy of The PRESS.

Jack then asked Jean Fischer to report on the recent Avon council meeting that was attended by many of our members. Jean reported that at the council meeting the club presented 3 paintings to the city - the Wilford Hotel, the Old Red Mill and the Kelling Barn which were painted by local artist Rose Mitock who was also present for the presentation. Tom Wearsch accepted the paintings on behalf of the city.

At the end of the meeting President of Council Tom Wearsch in the absence of the Mayor presented a proclamation to the Avon Historical Society from the Mayor and the City of Avon expressing its appreciation for the years of dedication of the club to the preservation of the historical structures and history of our city.

Dr. Fischer then reported that he had recently had the pleasure of meeting 84-year old Leroy Conrad of Sheffield who provided us with a copy of a biography of his former brother-in-law, retired pilot Robert Holberry who was a decorated in World War II and who had taken over 212 photographs during the war. We will add the pamphlet to our collection of memorabilia in the display case.

Jack then announced that he would be having a short meeting following the regular meeting tonight with the plaque committee to make recommendations as to where we should install our plaque of Dr. Norton Townshend.

As another item of old business, Jack wanted to thank Joe & Marilyn Misencik for hosting our annual Christmas party at their home. It was a wonder party that was enjoyed by everyone. Again, thank you for your hospitality.

Also under old business Jack wanted to remind members present of the ongoing committee of one - Ron Larson who continues his mission to save the Lewis House located on old Route 76 now route 84 - north of Chester Road. His desire is to save the home and have it moved to the Old Avon Village on Detroit Road. Ron has already put a lot of time and hard work on this project and at the present time he is preparing to present his plan to the Planning Commission.

The next committee report was in regard to the landmark ordinance that was proposed to Avon City Council at its last meeting by Jack Kilroy on behalf of the Avon Historical Society. Also on the committee with Jack Smith is Tim Nickum.

The beginning purpose of this legislation and committee would be to designate various structures throughout the city as landmarks. We will be assisting the city government in this in any way so that we can come up with a new acceptable ordinance.

As we learned from the speaker at our last meeting, there is some urgency to this. As we know, developers may not care about our historical structures; they are just a piece of ground to them. We may not be able to stop them entirely, but we hope to put some stumbling blocks in their way to slow them down and maybe have them re-think what they may have planned.

Left to right: Ed Brill, Toni Barnhart, Jean Fischer, and Dr. Del Fischer examining the shades at the headquarters of the Brownhelm Historical Society

Under new business Dr. Fischer stated that during our upcoming Bicentennial celebration we will be using the Old Town Hall for many of our activities. He is concerned that it may be difficult to show video tapes and our slide presentation due to the light coming through the windows during the day. He suggested that we might explore the possibility of purchasing some type of blinds for the projected day-time activities in the hall.

A motion to explore the window covering project was made by Jean Fischer and seconded by Dan McGhee and the voice vote the motion was passed. Dr. Fischer with the help of Toni Barnhart agreed to explore the type and cost of window coverings and will report back at the next meeting.

Jack then reported that on September 9th we will have a presentation by Bill Bird of the Lorain County Historical Society and Matt Kocsis of the Lorain County Metro Parks who will be doing an overall design of the Bicentennial display at the Metro Parks Building.

There will also be a gathering on February 20th at the Avon High School entitled ``Discover Avon''. This event was re-named from last year when it was called ``Taste of Avon''. We will again participate and have a table in the commons area. The event invites all newcomers of Avon to come and gather information about clubs, schools, churches, etc., in Avon although the even is open to all Avon residents. Once again the Avon Historical Society has been invited to participate in the speaking presentation along with Mayor Jim Smith and the Avon school superintendent.

[Note: Mar. 4. 2002 Mon. 7:00 PM Old Town Hall
Program: "Ghosts of Gettysburg"
Speaker: Bert Nesbitt]

There being no further business to conduct, a motion was made by Anna Allen and seconded by Theresa Szipple to adjourn the meeting and by voice vote the motion was passed.

Jack then turned the floor over to Jean Fischer who introduced our speaker for the evening, Mary Jane Barrett who gave a wonderful, interesting talk on quilts from the Civil War era.

Respectfully submitted, Nancy McGhee, Secretary

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