Post Seet between Schuyler and Erwin Streets on the Village Square circa 1860.
Ava, named for the Asian capital of Burma, is situated on the northern boundary of the county and was formed from the Town of Boonville on May 12, 1846. The headwaters of the Mohawk River and tributaries of the Black River flow through the town. The east branch of Fish Creek forms the western boundary of Ava. The streams provided the early settlers with an abundant supply of brook trout.
The town was settled early despite its distance from the main transportation routes. In 1797 Ebenezer Harger came to Whitestown from Connecticut and then in 1798 located less than a mile west of the present Ava or Ava Corners. By 1870, the population of the town had grown to 1,160, but in the 1880s, it began to decline.
In early times large stands of timber provided the settlers with a livelihood. By the latter part of the 19th century, the supply of timber had dwindled and most of the lumber mills were abandoned. Dairy farming is one of the chief occupations in the town today. A number of cheese factories were located in the town including the one known as Ohm's Factory. This was operated for many years in the southern part of the town on the Webster Hill Road. The last cheese maker closed in the 1930s.
Hotel, looking north of Route 26 at Ava Corners 1910.
Since the earliest settlement of the town, Ava (Ava Corners) has been the principal community in the town. The post office for the town is located here. Route 26, one of the primary northsouth routes through the county, intersects East West Ava Road creating the corners. From the time of early settlement, this route has been well traveled. A stage used to run daily to Rome and Boonville along the route.
One hundred years ago a hotel, harness shop, two blacksmith and wagon shops, two stores and a doctor were located here. The harness shop, a wagon shop, doctor's office and general store were destroyed by a fire about 1890.
At the northeast corner of the intersection, a large frame hotel was located. For a time, a telephone switchboard for the community was located in the hotel. The hotel fell into disrepair and was demolished about 1923 and a milk plant was erected in its place. The milk plant was discontinued some years later and a sawmill was in operation.
Hilltop Methodist Church 1909.
The Ava Methodist Hilltop Church was organized as the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1868 and a frame church was erected in 1869 on Route 26 south of the intersection of Ava Corners. The interior was of plaster. There were two wood stoves, one in each corner of the back, connected to a long pipe running the full length of the church. The seating arrangement was of the day the men on one side, the women on the other.
The town hall was built on Route 26 just south of Ava Comers for $600. By 1878 there were 10 school districts for the 371 schoolchildren in the town. Teacher's wages were $944.63 for 187778. The former school districts were gradually consolidated with the Adirondack and West Leyden Central School systems.
In the western section of the town we find one of the finest Boy Scout camps in America known as Camp Kingsley. The camp was given to the scout council in 1920 and dedicated in 1921 to the memory of Dr. W. J. P. Kingsley of Rome.