Minutes of the Avon Historical Society, 1-6-03

President Jack Smith opened the January 6, 2003 meeting of the Avon Historical Society at 7:00 p.m. with 27 members and guests being present.

As a first order of business Jack asked the secretary to read the minutes from the last meeting. Following the reading of the minutes upon a motion by Theresa Szipple and second by Anna Allen, the minutes were approved.

Jack asked Jean Fischer to give the treasurer's report in the absence of treasurer Barb Wolf. She reported that as of this evening there was a balance of $702.82 in the checking account and the money market has a balance of $5,876.44. Jack then asked if there were any outstanding bills to present for payment this evening and there were none.

Next on the agenda Jack wanted to take a moment to thank various people who helped out during the holidays. Thanks to Toni Barnhart for the wrapped gift boxes for display under our tree and to everyone who showed up and helped with Santa's visit here on December 7th; to Chuck and Cheryl Huene for the beautiful Christmas decorations to our Old Town Hall; and to Nancy McGhee and her committee who put on such a splendid Christmas Party that was enjoyed by all.

Jack then asked Dr. Fischer for a membership report - and Dr. Fischer stated that as of this evening we have 213 members - which in the terms of his grandchildren can only be expressed as 'awesome.'

Next Jack asked Ron Larson for a progress report on The Lewis House. Ron then gave a summary of the tedious and expensive task of restoring the house -- 2 sections of timbers were unusable and he was able to find the same quality timbers in Peninsula which were re-cut with the same cuts as the originals and put back into the house matching the originals.

Unfortunately Ron was not able to replace the roof shingles with the synthetic slate shingles as they were cost prohibitive - but went instead with a high quality asphalt shingle which will work out fine.

Throughout this venture Ron has come to realize that there is a tremendous need in our area for a source that offers low interest loans for people who want to restore historical structures. For someone contemplating restoration, you need to multiply by 3 times what the normal cost of a replacement window would cost; 3 times what a normal roof would cost, etc., It becomes very costly to restore these buildings to be historically correct - which is the whole object. In reality it almost becomes economically impossible. In the end he anticipates that the house will be restored to approximately 75% of its original state.

Further Ron stated that he was unable to find the tongue-in-groove flooring he wanted and they are re-milling the flooring now; the 6 over 6 windows are in and ready to be installed; the shaker panel shutters have been ordered; the foundation has been completed; he is still waiting for the utility tie ins; they have had to heat with torpedo kerosene heaters to keep work going in the cold -- but work is progressing slowing --- and he stated that this has been a true learning experience; but he hopes that eventually it will be something that the Historical Society and all of Avon will be proud of.

Jack then stated that because of tonight's program of viewing tapes, he would like to dispense with the committee reports unless there is something that needs to be discussed.

Toni Barnhart wanted to state that she has prepared fliers regarding the chaos during the Christmas holidays at the Avon Post Office. It is terribly undersized for our community, there is no room to park, and the lines were out the door at Christmas. She would like to start a writing campaign to encourage the postal department to expand and enlarge our post office. She has inquired and was told that there is a freeze on any kind of expansion or construction at the present time. The fliers will be available after the meeting.

Theresa Szipple then took a moment to report that regarding the collection of artifacts for the upcoming Bicentennial, she has been in touch with Matt Kocsis who is coordinating the exhibit at the French Creek Nature Center and he has stated that he needs a list of those articles we will be contributing to the exhibit by the end of the week. He further told her that the have most of what was on the list from other societies. However, he will make arrangements to come here to The Old Town Hall to pick up, catalogue and issue a receipt for those artifacts we still want to contribute. If you have any specific and interesting please call Theresa at 934-5933 and get together with her.

Jack continuing on with new business wanted to remind everyone that this coming Wednesday, January 8, 2003, there will be a Planning Commission meeting at 7 p.m. in the caucus room at City Hall. They will once again be discussing the Nagel Road interchange and the widening of Detroit Road to 5 lanes. It would be a good idea if as many of us as possible could attend.

Ron Larson again took the floor and wanted to remind everyone how important meetings like this is are. In his recent efforts with The Lewis House Ron has learned that our efforts with preservation start at home. His experience has taught him that the Lorain County Historical Society is working hard to preserve historical structures. However, he has contacted the Ohio Historical Society on occasion for assistance and they have not been there for him. It is very sad because they just pass the buck and basically offer no assistance. His feeling and suggestion is that we need to do anything - do it here locally - stay strong - and stay focused.

Ron then displayed a scale model of a barn structure and spoke to the members regarding his proposed Blackwell Barn to be built on the Old Avon Village site on Detroit Road. The structure will be 32 x 60 and he hopes to replicate a barn as it would appear in the 1880s.

He is attempting to use materials from the original barn that was located on the property where they are presently building the new Wal Mart store. The timbers are coming from the old Schwartz barn on Schwartz Road along with some new timbers. However, because of the lack of information and pictures he is attempting to duplicate the red barn from the old mill. The structure will be 3 stories high with 2 usable floors.

Ron is asking that when he goes in front of the Planning Commission that he could state to them that he has the support of the Avon Historical Society in this venture. He would also like to encourage members to get involved in the design and architecture of the barn which is now in the every early stages. Any ideas, opinions or photographs would be greatly appreciated.

Ron's overall goal is to continually develop the village so that it appears as it would have existed in the 1850s and to replace structures that have been lost or torn down. The barn will sit along side the Lewis Home with an outdoor patio. The Blackwell Barn will have exhibits from a blacksmith as it would have appeared in the 1850s.

Again if anyone has any photos of barns that existing in Avon that are now gone, he would greatly appreciate looking at them. A motion was made by Nancy McGhee giving Ron Larson the support of the Avon Historical Society with his application to the Avon Planning Commission to construct the barn on his property next to the Lewis House. The motion was seconded by Toni Barnhart and by voice vote passed by the members.

Jack then announced that at the February 3, 2003, meeting which will be during Black History Month, our speaker will be Tom Hoerrle who will give a presentation on the Burrell House in Sheffield Village which was the closest recognized stop for the underground railroad.

There being no further business to conduct, upon a motion by Dan McGhee and seconded by Pat Furnas the meeting was adjourned.

Dr. Fischer then gave the members a very interesting and informative summary of how the Avon Historical Society was formed in 1964 for the 150th Anniversary of the founding of Avon and how it developed and grew. He then introduced the 2 video tapes we would be viewing this evening, The Avon Story of 1974 and The Talking Quilt - both of which were extremely enjoyable.

Respectfully submitted, Nancy McGhee, Secretary

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