A Church with a Rich History

Meet Our Historian

Nora Oakes Howard, 
Historian@Avon-Church.org

Our church historian and photographer, Nora Howard, grew up in Avon and is the historian of the Town of Avon. She also serves on historical committee of the United Church of Christ-Connecticut Conference. Read more below*
 Nora’s latest book is Catch’d on Fire: The Journals of Rufus Hawley, 1763-1812. Ten years in the making, the book features Avon’s history through the journals of its pastor. A photograph of our church’s archival collection is included in the book. The book is available from the Avon Historical Society at www.avonhistoricalsociety.org, the church office, at bookstores, and from www.historypress.net.

Read What This Church Means to Me by Historian, Writer and Member, Nora Howard.

Learn more about our historic meeting house on Wikipedia.
"Onward: 1812- 1982" is a small book that was written and compiled by members of the Avon Congregational Church in 1982 based upon their work aggregating and organizing church archival documents. Church members were especially proud of the fact that documents discovered established that famed architect David Hoadley was the designer of the meetinghouse, which is pictured in books and histories of New England meetinghouses, and is included in the National Register of Historic Places. The choice of title and the opening sentence of the book demonstrate the committee's belief that while the church must acknowledge and respect its heritage, it must also move forward. The book reflects historical materials available to the writer and the committee at the time the book was written. Because it is no longer in print, the book is reproduced here in its entirety.  -Susan K. Smith

Three Avon Organizations Receive Historical Documents and Artifacts
It’s not often that a large collection of one family’s historic documents and artifacts make their way back to the Avon, but thanks to one generous donor, that is what has happened.

Members of the Church in 1819
A very small group of 24 people--13 women and 11 men--stood up to become the original members of the the Avon Congregational Church in 1819.  (Picture)

Avon (1830-present), A Brief History 
Why the name Avon? The accepted version is that the name came from the Avon River in England. “Avon” had been in use here as early as 1753, when church marriage records began to record the bride or groom’s residence as “Avon” or “Northington.”

Historian's Report January 2010
The Archives Room: The Church’s archives are in the Michael Covert Archive Room. Michael Covert, son of current member Norma Goralski, was a talented carpenter and a generous donor of his time and talents. (Picture)

*Nora has written extensively on local history, including two books: Stories of Wethersfield, and a vintage photographic history of the town in the Images of America Series, called Avon. Nora holds an M.A. in American Studies from George Washington University, and a B.A. in American Studies from Hampshire College. She has been a Smithsonian Institution Research Fellow, and executive director of the historical societies of Avon and of Wethersfield. Her writings have won awards from the Association for State and Local History, and the Connecticut League of Historical Societies. Her photographs have received recognition in shows sponsored by the Garden Club of America.