What Avon, MN Was Called Before It was Named Avon
Avon is a small town in Central Minnesota in Stearns county nestled between numerous lakes, hills and industry. The small town of 1,396 people is the focus on this edition of WJON's Small Town series. I was joined by longtime Avon residents Jeanette Clancy and Cliff Borgerding. Clancy wrote the book "Nestled Between Lakes and Wooded Hills" under her pen name Jeanette Blonigen Clancy.
Avon wasn't always known as Avon. It was originally known as Spunk Lake before the railroad came through and James J. Hill renamed the town Avon after the River Avon in England. Clancy says Avon was settled in the 1860s and have had a post office since 1873. The original settlers are the Keppers brothers who made their way from St. Joseph in the 1860s and plated out the downtown which consisted of around 3 blocks which is where the downtown still is today.
Clancy indicated that the spunk lakes used to be one lake separated by a few channels. She explains that 5 to 6 lakes touch the city's boundaries and that's where I-94 is now as it makes its way through Avon. Highway 52 used to go through Avon and the route is similar to the route I-94 now takes.
Clancy says much of Avon was once owned by Frank Schmid. Schmid had a store called the "Schmid Store" which primarily served farmers. She says he owned the bank, lumber yard and other businesses in the 1930s. Clancy indicates that Schmid took ownership of many of these businesses because people couldn't pay their bills due to the depression.
Avon today is the location for numerous thriving businesses including Blattner Energy and Columbia Gear. Both are located south of I-94. Other businesses in Avon include the Gathering Grounds coffee shop, Lumber One, Magnifi Financial, and the Buckhorn just to name a few. Avon also has Avon Elementary School and three relatively new housing developments. Avon is also the home of Spunktacular Days which will take place June 16-17 in 2023.
The Avon Baseball club was established in July 1979 by the Avon Lions Club when official construction of its baseball park began. The Avon Loins Club purchased land directly south of the old park which at that time consisted of a pasture and a small pond. The Avon Lakers are members of the Victory League.
If you'd like to listen to my conversations with Jeanette Clancy and Cliff Borgerding they are available below.