During the early 1800s, preceding European settlement in the area, the Delaware and Piankishaw Indians considered modern-day Hendricks County prime hunting grounds. Attracted by fertile lands, Hoosier pioneers began clearing the territory, building log cabins and establishing cities.
Avon was originally known as Hampton when the post office was established in this location in 1833. As postmasters changed, so did the area’s name at each new leader’s whim: Hampton, White Lick, Smootsdell (a default title Washington D.C. conferred when a pack-peddler petitioned for a post office without suggesting a name) and New Philadelphia. The name Avon finally stuck when the railroad company drove a stake into the ground with this title. According to a local legend, Avon stands for “A Village of Neighbors.”
Avon would sit even closer to Indianapolis’ defining lines had the pack-peddler and the postmaster belonged to the same political party. However, John Smoot was an ardent Democrat, JR Ross a die-hard Republican. The two could not find common ground in the same vicinity. Smoot loaded his store onto a sled and established it at a distance. Naturally, residents gathered around their supply base.
Avon’s local legend also looms large in west-central Indiana. According to the story, a workman erecting the town’s railroad bridge in 1902 fell into the casement below, still holding his cross-cut saw. His colleagues continued to pour concrete, locking his body and spirit into one spot for all eternity. Legend says you can still hear his screams, which is why Haunted Bridge remains a popular spooky hangout for residents. The only evidence remaining today of the Haunted Bridge tragedy is a saw protruding from the concrete.
Since its incorporation, the Avon community has continued to grow both economically and residentially, while still maintaining the traditional roots of its proud past.