AVON — The Avon Preservation and Historical Society has moved mountains to keep the rich community stories alive.
APHS President, Bob Westfall told Genesee Country Express about how lucky they are to have a place for the museum.
“I remember when I was a kid and this whole storefront was filled with interesting places to shop,” he said. “We had an old ice cream parlor, grocery store, flower shop, and the old St. George Hotel was beautiful. We had an old fire house, and it was one of the last old places in town. In the 1970s they didn’t think to preserve history, so a lot of this got torn down.”
The St. George Hotel was torn down to make way for a Community Bank. That whole side of downtown doesn’t seem to fit the Opera House Block.
“I think the buildings should have codes that make them fit the historical accuracy of the town,” Westfall said. “We have a Lions Club clock that fits the historical theme, and we used to have a big wooden sign at the park with all the veterans names on it from Civil War to World War Two.”
Westfall said a historical society has excited for 35 years, but most of the items had to stay in storage due to lack of space. Now that they have a place to showcase the history it means a lot to the community.
“We had a small museum in the Duffy Restaurant for a few months, but we are very glad to have our own space,” he said. “The town has been really nice to us, and all we need to pay here is our utilities.”
All of the items in the museum relate to Avon in some way, shape, or form. They include the painting of the water spa on fire, District Seven teacher’s desk, St. George Hotel register, and old fashioned toys.
Westfall praised the new owners of the Avon Inn for making the place an event center. Sadly, The St. George Hotel was made of wood, and it was not restored in time to be saved.
Westfall grew up in the town of Avon, and has many fond memories of what the town used to be.
“We want to get that program that restores main street, and help make this place like it used to be,” he said. “I grew up going to Park Theater, and spent lots of times watching cartoons and westerns there. They had a serial every week, and if you didn’t go you wouldn’t know what happened.”
Westfall said a lot of work has been done at the museum over the years.
“It is a phenomenal space to have our displays set up,” he said. “We keep new displays in the windows every month, and keep it all nice and fresh.”
“I give all the credit to my staff,” Westfall continued. “The work they have done for this museum is amazing. Our membership for the society is in an all time high. We do fundraisers all year that goes right back into the museum. We try to keep all our programs of local interest.”
Avon Preservation and Historical Society is located at 23 Genesee Street in Avon. They are open Thursdays and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. They can be reached at 585-226-2425 ext. 22. For more information visit http://www.avonpreservation.org/