History of Avon, Indiana: From Railways to Soybeans

The history of Avon, Indiana is short, sweet and successful. Though the suburb of Indianapolis was a community before 1995, it was not officially incorporated until that date.

The hamlet went through various names before Avon stuck: White Lick, Hampton, New Philadelphia and Smootsdale are the best known.

Inside the Washington Township Public Library, there are records of the doings of some of the residents back as far as the Civil War. Many residents, such as McKendree Smith, live on in the local historic annals as representatives in that war. Smith was captured during the battle in 1863 and shuttled around to different Confederate prisons for the remainder of the war. When he was finally discharged, Smith weighed only 100 pounds.

The railroad lines that connected the country and made for a rapid expansion in Avon business, population, and government came to the Avon area in 1906. That was the year the Big Four Railroad (now Avon’s Train Yard) had the now-famous Haunted Bridge of Avon constructed to span an important creek. A number of legends hover around this well known bridge and its ghosts, but no one can say for sure what really goes on there. Suffice it to say that if you visit the bridge, you’ll see why the legend remains intact over a century later.

The local inter-urban train system endured from 1905 to the 1930’s, when it was dismantled. Today, the CSX operates rail cars used for shipping on tracks that previously carried people to and fro.

Video of a modern-day CSX train passing through Avon, Indiana

One of the biggest success stories to come out of the area was that of the “Soybean Pioneer of Avon.” His name was Adrian Parsons. He is remembered for importing Japanese soybeans and raising the crop on his farm just outside of Avon. He was the first known farmer to produce soybeans, a hugely successful grain crop, in the state of Indiana, thus influencing the history of agriculture in the area.

Since the town’s incorporation in 1995, its population, business and industry have grown exponentially. Avon has everything it takes to continue flourishing far into the foreseeable future.

For more information on the history of Avon, please visit the town government’s homepage.