Contact Avon Historical Society - firstname.lastname@example.org; 860-678-7621
Sites to VisitPine Grove Schoolhouse Hunter History Room
Follow the adventures of Abigail on the Society's Newsletter page. Click on Abigail above.
Welcome to The Avon Historical Society, Inc.
Avon Historical Society's mission is to identify, collect, preserve, utilize,
display, and promote the history and heritage of
Welcome to Spring 2015
For the final events of the commemoration of the Civil War, we invite you to
join us for "Legacies of the Civil War" exhibit and events
State Register of Historic Places Designation Granted to Derrin House
and Horse Guards Barn in Avon
UPDATE – April 2015 - The roof of the Barn is completed! Watch this website for updates as the work progresses on the walls. The Society thanks all donors who have contributed to this project.
The Avon Historical Society is pleased to announce that in June 2014 it received the State Register of Historic Places designation from the Offices of Culture and Tourism, Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, for the c. 1810 Derrin House and the c. 1880 First Company Governor’s Horse Guards Barn both located on West Avon Road, Avon, CT. The State Register of Historic Places is Connecticut's official listing of structures and sites that characterize the historical development of the state. It was created and authorized in 1975 under Connecticut General Statute which defined the State Register as an “itemized list locating and classifying historic structures and landmarks throughout the state.” Since 1975, over 75,000 properties owned by private citizens, organizations, municipalities and the State of Connecticut have been listed on the State Register.
The application for the designation of both properties was initiated by the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation providing much of the narrative for the application with the help of Peter Wright and Len Tolisano, members of the Avon Historical Society Board of Trustees. In the application for the Derrin House, it is described as “a 1 ½-story center-chimney post and beam framed structure sited with its ridge-line oriented east-west perpendicular to the road.” The Barn is described as a “1 ½-story three-bay, gable-roofed New England bank barn located approximately 300 feet north of the house and on the opposite side of the road…bordered on all sides by wooden fences painted white and much of the site is open pasture.”
The Derrin House, c. 1810, has been under extensive restoration by volunteers since 1996 when the Society leased the structure from the Department of the Military, State of Connecticut, which owned it since 1954 and used it for the First Co. Governor’s Horse Guard by a caretaker and later for storage. The land that it sits on was the property of the Derrin family for over 150 years (1766-1920) tracing its roots to the late 18th century. Open on Sundays from 2:00 – 4:00pm from June through September, one can see the progress the family made as the house was expanded again and again. Currently under an adaptive-reuse, the Derrin House is testimony to a way of life that has virtually disappeared from our region; the family farm. Filled with period furniture and implements, the Derrin House invites visitors to learn what life was like on a 19th century New England farm, where the weather and uneven soil always made life interesting. Many aspects of that life are on display within the house. Included is a kitchen garden in the side and a newly created narrative about the Ammi and Sarah Derrin family who raised many children in this house in the mid 19th century.
The Horse Guards Barn came to the attention of the Avon Historical Society early in 2010 when the group was approached by the Department of the Military to consider extending the lease of the Derrin House in order to restore the c. 1880 New England Gable Entry Bank Barn built according to the “square” rule using circular sawn lumber. In the late 19th century a private family occupied the land and barn. Later owners sold the whole property to the State of Connecticut in 1954 for use by the First Co. Governor’s Horse Guard. This particular barn was used for their horses until the State built a modern facility several years ago. A lower level barn, attached to the back, was added in the 1954 but collapsed in March 2015 due to snow load. It was removed when the roof of the main barn was replaced in April.
In January 2011 the Society signed an amendment to a lease agreement of the Derrin House (249 West Avon Road) from the State of Connecticut Department of the Military to include the Horse Guard Barn (232 West Avon Road), located on the property of the First Co. Governor’s Horse Guard. Since taking on the Barn, countless hours of volunteer labor and financial support has come from the community. Financial donations have been received in the past for materials and some of the labor to date to create a temporary wall to strengthen the south side. As of early April 2015, the roof of the Barn was replaced thanks to over $20,000 in donations and a state grant. The remaining work to be completed is replacement of the south wall and back wall, which was damaged when the annex barn collapsed in March due to snow load. The Society welcomes individual or business contributions to either the Derrin House or Horse Guard Barn continued renovations. Your contribution is tax deductible and a letter of thanks will be sent to all donors. Donations may be made to: Avon Historical Society, P.O. Box 448, Avon, CT 06001.
Need a quick gift that is special and of interest to your local history buff? How about a book or set of notecards from the Avon Historical Society Gift Shop? We are pleased to have several books on Avon history available including photo books of views of Avon yesterday and today. NEW this year!! Full color notecards of historic scenes around Avon painted by students at Avon High School. These heavy stock cards are 5" x 7" in size and depict scenes of Pine Grove School House, The Flower House on West Avon Road, Countryside Park and the Forge at Avon Old Farms School. A set of 8 cards are $8 or 2 sets for $15. Sets come in individual pictures on each or cards with all four pictures on the front. The student artists, whose name are on the back of the cards, gave permission for their images to be reproduced. Printing was donated. Therefore 100% of the proceeds will benefit the projects and programs of the Avon Historical Society. To order, please contact the Society at the number below for price and shipping, if necessary. To view all our items, visit the AHS Gift Shop page.
About UsAvon Historical Society P.O. Box 448, Avon, CT 06001
Founded in 1974, the Avon Historical Society is an all volunteer, nonprofit organization devoted to the conservation of Avon's historical and cultural past and its educational relevance to our life. Membership in The Avon Historical Society is open to the public.
Currently the Society's projects include full restoration of the Derrin House on West Avon Road, proper storage of many artifacts in the Schoolhouse No. 3 (formerly The Living Museum) and Pine Grove Schoolhouse, answering local history questions, giving referrals to those who seek "experts" to help with their historic home or genealogy questions, publishing a newsletter and planning fundraising events.
In 1972, the National Register of Historic Places designated a section of West Avon as the Pine Grove Historic District. The District includes the Pine Grove Schoolhouse and five homes built prior to 1865.
An historic building survey was completed in June 1997 of the town of Avon by the State Historic Preservation Commissiom. Many sites have been identified as potential historic districts. The complete survey can be viewed at Town Hall, and the Avon Library.
For information on joining or volunteering, please feel free to call Avon Historical Society directly at 860-678-7621.
© Avon Historical Society P.O. Box 448, Avon, CT. 06001 All Rights Reserved