Lorain County residents’ longing to relive a lost part of Avon’s past was answered in 2010 when the city’s Avon Isle Dance Pavilion was remodeled. They were then able to return to a place where residents battled in boxing matches, concealed liquor bottles in the rocks of a nearby creek and danced on Sundays in an act of rebellion.
The Avon Isle enjoyed a notorious heyday that lasted from its inception in 1925 through the late 1970s, drawing dancers and singles after Elyria and Lorain outlawed dancing on Sundays and drinking during Prohibition.
The City of Avon purchased the facility and four acres of surrounding land in the mid-1990s, converting the historic dance pavilion into a park with a tree-lined meadow and the French Creek. An extensive remodeling project left only a few of the pavilion’s original elements, says Diane Corrao, director of parks and recreation for the City of Avon.
“The front porch was completely demolished, but they were able to use the original wood columns from the pavilion on the porch,” which were refurbished, she says. “The original wood flooring on the inside remains, but it was re-sanded and re-stained.”
No longer a place for throwing punches or rebelling against the city, Corrao says, the refurbished 3,500-square-foot pavilion will be used to host bridal parties, small weddings, graduation celebrations and rehearsal dinners.
“We haven’t maximized [the Isle’s] use but we hope to in the next year,” she says. “Whatever we can think of that the people of Lorain County could enjoy, we will do.”