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Avoca was previously known as Pleasant Valley. It is located in the north part of the county, nearly adjoining the Lackawanna county line, three miles from the center of Pittston and seven miles from Scranton. It was taken from Pittston township and made a borough 24 May 1871. The first council consisted of three members: P.B. Brehorny, president, Robert Reid and George Lampman. The council changed the borough name to Avoca, as that was the name of the post office in the town, in 1889.

James Brown, Sr. has the credit of being one of the first settlers in the place. John Mitchell lived in an old farmhouse. Jacob Lidy, Mr. McAlpin, William Rau and Mr. Ellis were early settlers. James L. Giddings lived in a log house.

A. McAlpin built a shop here in 1837 for making half-bushel and peck measures by water power, later steam power was used to manufacture kegs and cigar boxes. This building burned in 1854. A new one was erected, but blew up in 1872. In 1874 the firm changed the name to McAlpin & Son. In 1879 when it was purchased by C.A. McAlpin the capacity of the machinery was 500 kegs and 500 pails per day.

Martin Reap was the first merchant. In 1869 James McMillan was made a partner and the name of James McMillan & Co. Was adopted. The building was built in 1869, burned in 1875 then rebuilt & enlarged. James Maloney established a general merchandise business in 1873. He specialized in groceries & provisions. He build his store in 1875. John King who had been a clerk with James Maloney started a similar business in 1876. Thomas McLaughlin began a store in 1871, but his death prevented it's completion until 1875. His sons then ran the business. In 1871 J.H. Swoyer built the store later owned by Charles A. Jones. This was known as the company store. From 1870-1873 Mr Jones was highly identified with the business interests in Avoca. In 1877 Mr Jones was manager for Mr. Swoyer. In 1878 he bought half interest in the store and 1 Jan 1879 succeeded to the whole of the business.

Business in 1893 were listed as follows: 2 blacksmiths, 1 bottler, 7 carpenters, 1 clothier, 5 coal breakers, 3 coal companies, 3 confectioners, 3 druggists, 1 dry goods, 2 furniture dealers, 3 general stores, 2 gents' furnishings, 3 grocers, 1 hardware, 3 hotels, 5 meat markets, 2 milliners, 1 paper -- Avoca Argus, 1 paints and oils, 5 physicians, 1 planning-mill, 2 stoves and tinware, 2 tailors, 1 undertaker, 1 jeweler.

The earliest residents of the town had mail delivery from Pittston. Later a mail route from Pittston to Pleasant Valley was established. James McMillan was appointed postmaster in April 1871 and Andrew Flock carried the mail daily until July 1872. The office was named Marr for James H. Marr, the chief clerk in the first assistant postmaster-general's office. In 1873 a daily mail was brought from Old Forge. The borough currently has it' s own post office on the Main street.

The following were officers in Avoca borough in 1893: Burgess--Thomas Fitzsimmons; councilmen: president--Archibald McQueen, W.J. Buglehall, Daniel Burnes, James Doran, John McKone, John Woods: secretary John Conaboy; treasurer, Patrick Doran; attorney P.A. O'Boyle; assessor, Marcellus D. Sanders; tax receiver James Gilhooley; street commissioner, Thomas Brown; high constable, Andrew B. Curley; justice of the peace Frank Little and Michael Whalen; district registers, north election district John Brennan, south election district John Clifford. Chief of Police was John Cannon

Avoca Hose Company #1 was organized 15 Sep 1886. The building stood at 77 North Main. President was James Alexander; vice president, J.H. Anderson; secretary, Walter Anderson; assistant secretary, F.T. Austin; treasurer, E. Laird; foreman, M.D. Sanders; financial secretary, J.F. McLaughlin; pipemen J. Alexander, William Graham.

Y.M.C.A. of Avoca was still around in 1893. It's president was Thomas O'Brien; secretary, James C. Merrick; treasurer, John J. Curley. Avoca Board of Trade was organized 26 Feb 1887. President, G.B. Seamans; vice president, W.J. Renniman; secretary, J.H. Anderson; assistant secretary, T. B. Brehony; financial secretary, Edward Laird; treasurer, James McMillan.

Much of this information was found in H.C. Bradsby's "History of Luzerne County 1893"

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Copyright © 1998 Pat Krivak

1997-2010 by Mary Ann Lubinsky for the PAGenWeb Project, and by Individual Contributors

 Mary Ann Lubinsky
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