Avon Lake’s Past Present and Future

The City of Avon Lake is situated in the northeast corner of Lorain County, encompassing 5 miles along the south shore of Lake Erie, and extending 3 miles south. Geologically, it had been entirely submerged by Lake Erie. As the lake receded, it left a shoreline dense with a clay-based mixture later discovered to be conducive to the cultivation of grapes. Avon Lake’s site was first occupied by Indians. It later fell under French dominion, with title then being wrested by the English. Following the War of 1812 and the ensuing formation of the Connecticut Western Reserve, Tract 7 in Range 16 was created, eventually giving home to Avon Lake.

The Lake Shore’s first recorded settler was Noah Davis, who constructed a lean-to around 1812 near the present location of Moore and Lake Roads, but remained less than a year. First known as Xeuma, then Troy in 1818, the territory that would a century later become Avon Lake was initially part of Cuyahoga County. One of the shore’s earliest permanent settlers was Adam Miller, who arrived with his family in 1819. In 1824, Lorain County was incorporated, and Troy became Avon in December of that year. In 1830, Adam Miller’s son Peter built the first frame house in what would eventually become Avon Lake. In 1855, Lake Road was lost to the ravages of Lake Erie and was reconstructed at its current location.

The farming industry expanded, fruit crops were bountiful, and shipping became lucrative. The shore’s grapes produced a superior quality wine. Prosperity in the northern section of Avon outpaced that of southern Avon, and by 1910, northern Avon began the process of petitioning for separation from Avon. After much political wrangling, secession was accomplished, with the Nickle Plate Railroad tracks constituting the north-south division. Avon Lake elected its first mayor – Gerald Brown – in 1917.

The Lake Shore Electric Railway made its way into Avon Lake at the close of the 19th century, and fostered development of Beach Park, with a dance hall and bathing beach that drew vacationers for miles from the east and west. In 1923, the Cleveland Illuminating Company purchased Beach Park and constructed a power plant on that site. In 1938, the Lake Shore Electric Railway made its last run. Avon Lake was the undisputed beneficiary of the Railway’s heyday, as property values soared. Housing developments were rapidly expanding, and population increased. By 1960, Avon Lake’s census qualified it for city status. The lake continues to draw admirers, as boaters, fishermen and enthusiasts of spectacular sunsets make their way to the shores of Avon Lake, a city with a rich history.