Club History

Carriage Club – The Early Years (1967 – 1985)

In the mid-1960s, Avon was a rural community with many farms and lots of open space. Although the population was growing, Avon was still considered a small town with less than 5,000 residents.

The growth of Avon was spurred by many developers who saw the potential of such a beautiful area just a short drive from bustling Hartford. One such developer, Buena Vista Homes, Inc. (Buena) was the owner and developer of large tracts of land lying on both sides of Country Club Road known as “Country Club Estates”. The principals of the firm were Louis Lipman and William Alexander, both of West Hartford.

To improve the attractiveness of the neighborhood, they approached existing homeowners with the idea of building a recreational facility whose ownership would ultimately transfer from the developer to the members of the club.  In 1966, a letter was sent from Buena Vista Homes, Inc. to residents of Country Club Estates soliciting interest in having an “Association Swimming Pool and Tennis Court to be built and erected, on a non-profit base, in Country Club Estates, Avon”.  In July 1966, there was an initial meeting of area homeowners to establish a committee to work with the builders.  The committee continued to meet on a regular basis.  The total estimated cost of the project was quoted at $35,200. This cost was roughly equal to the average price of new homes sold in the neighborhood at that time.

The first draft of the original Carriage Club bylaws was completed in September 1966. Membership eligibility was described as follows:

“Any owner of a home built or to be built on any lot or any part of land now or formerly owned by Buena in Town of Avon” can join the Carriage Club. Specifically, the following were allowed membership:

  • Any home on Country Club Estates
  • Owners of the 12 homes on the south side of Country Club Road contiguous to Country Club Estates
  • Any home on Carriage Drive and Highwood as of September 1, 1966
  • Owners of the Phelps home on Lovely Street
  • The Bender and Vaill homes on Country Club Road

There was a potential of 200 families that could have become members, of whom 40 initially joined.

The 40 original members were each assessed $335, with the proceeds paid to Buena. The Club was to become the owner after an additional 160 members each paid $365 to Buena. (The $365 was increased to $400 in 1969 and remained at that level until 1985).

In January 1967, a zoning application was filed requesting a special use grant for a “neighborhood club”. The following wording was included: “The use of the property shall be restricted to neighborhood swimming, tennis, basketball, volleyball, badminton, horseshoes, and other minor outdoor games”. The membership was limited to:
1. present and future residents of Highwood subdivision
2. Country Club Estates subdivision
3. Buena Vista subdivision located on the north side of Country Club Road

The Planning and Zoning Commission granted a Special Exception approval to permit the construction of the Carriage Club pool in association with the Country Club Estates subdivision. The Club was built on two house lots on Brookmoor Rd.

On July 20, 1967, the property at 111 Brookmoor Road was sold to Carriage Club, Inc. and the transaction was filed with the Town of Avon. (No price listed, per town records).

In April 1968, the IRS recognized the Carriage Club as tax exempt under section 501(d)(7) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Activities at the Carriage Club during these early years included the following:

  • TGIF or Wish You Were Here Happy Hour parties at 6:30 on Fridays
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Volleyball
  • Two on Two Teen Tennis
  • You Deserve a Break Today (all day picnic / BBQ)
  • NMTNMBNMTDL for School Kids (NoMoreTeachersNoMoreBooksNoMoreTeachersDirtyLooks)
  • Strawberry Pickin’ Finger Lickin’ Jubilee
  • Tenting Tonight (Could this be an overnight campout?)
  • Gourmets & VINO (Saturday evening adult social)
  • Annual Clam Bake

Since its inception, the Club has been concerned with the neighborhood. It was never interested in becoming a country club or commercial type pool. Included in the initial draft of the bylaws was the following:

“It is the intent of the founders that the Club be a neighborhood club created for the pleasure of the persons living only in the above named sub-developments and other contiguous groups of homes who may from time to time be added to eligibility for membership.

The Club became a vibrant and focal point of the neighborhood, with many people volunteering their time to keep things running. After the initial year, membership averaged about 50 – 60 families each year, drawn from the original 200 homes.  During these early years, the entire neighborhood was considered “THE place to live in Avon”, with the big attraction of course being the Carriage Club.

In October 1985, at a special meeting of the general membership, unanimous vote to approve the proposal formulated by the Board for the transfer of title of the Carriage Club to the members. Per the meeting notice: “Remaining mortgage note of $27,623.00 would be taken back by Buena Vista Homes if the Carriage Club turns over all new membership assessments covering 1986 – 1992. Furthermore, if total membership falls below 120 members, the Club shall be able to solicit associate memberships outside of the original membership plan as set forth more specifically in a lease between Buena Vista Homes, Inc. and Carriage Club, Inc., dated July 17, 1967”.  In December, the Carriage Club was officially turned over to the membership. By-laws were updated to reflect the change and agreed upon conditions.

Carriage Club – The Struggling Years (1986 – 2003)

Nearly 20 years after the Club was founded, there were major repairs needed to the tennis courts and swimming pool. Due to the financial situation of the Club, the Board of Directors wanted to create an “associateship membership” where families from a specified neighborhood (outside the original 200 homes) could join. However, the lease with Buena Vista Homes, Inc. did not allow this. Negotiations were undertaken to provide this option to the Club. In addition, the property was turned over to the Carriage Club from Buena for $1.

In 1986, membership increased from 52 to 74 families, and to 77 by 1987. However, there were still financial problems.

After the 1987 season, there was concern that the pool had a remaining life about 5-7 years, with a cost to rebuild of about $100K – $150K.  There weren’t enough funds available to cover urgently needed pool repairs.  To address the urgent need for funds, the members voted for and approved an assessment of $150 for each member. Subsequent new members would be charged an initiation fee of $150 in addition to regular annual dues. The initiation fee has remained since then and has gradually increased over the years.

Not all members were pleased with the vote to assess everyone $150, and about 15 – 20 members chose to drop out of the Club. New members were desperately needed. In 1988, the Club and Buena Vista agreed that the original “neighborhood” be enlarged to include some additional streets for purposes of membership eligibility. However, members from the new streets could not be owners. The bylaws were amended.

Classifications of Membership – The changes in who could join the Carriage Club resulted in different membership categories as follows:

  • Class I (or “charter members”). The owners from the original 200 homes.
  • Class II (or “associate members”). Those who joined the Carriage Club from the expanded neighborhood after 1985. They paid higher dues for several years, at least in part to reflect the fact that these members had never paid the $335 – $400 amount paid by Class I members. They also did not have any ownership rights.
  • “Sponsored Members” – Those who joined the Club who lived outside the areas covered by Class I and Class II members. A family could not just choose to become a member; they had to be “sponsored” by an owner. A maximum of 20 sponsored memberships were permitted.

The different classifications of memberships became an ongoing source of confusion and controversy. There were different ownership and membership rules applied to the classifications. There were issues on how to handle a situation where a member moves from one area to another. The question was raised as to the proper category of someone who joins from one of the original 200 homes and pays the $150 initiation fee (but not the $400 that other Class 1 members paid until 1985). It was suggested that they be given their own “Class 1 – Special” category, unless they chose to pay $400 instead.

In 1993, a Carriage Club Bylaws Task Force was created to address membership and capital issues. There were key issues regarding the ownership of the Club. A proposal was made and accepted that all members (both “owners” and “non-owners”) would thereafter be considered owners.

The original owners in particular felt that something was being taken away from them. They believed there was a potential financial interest applicable to them should the Club cease to exist. A group of them banded together to research and review bylaws and legal documents pertaining to the Club. They brought to the attention of the Planning and Zoning Commission that the 1988 amendment to expand the eligibility area violated the original special use grant.

The Town of Avon hired an attorney to review the situation with the Carriage Club. The attorney agreed that the Club did violate the special use grant. The Commission subsequently informed the Club that they could either remove the members residing outside the original neighborhood or request a variance. The Club opted for the latter and started operating under a special use variance that allowed them to have members outside the original neighborhood.

In October 1994, the by-laws were amended again. The planning and Zoning Commission gave the Carriage Club permission to draw members from within a ¾ mile radius, subject to a maximum of 100 members. (Current members living outside this radius were grandfathered in). This was valid for 2 years. There were now about 800 homes eligible for membership.

In October 1995, the Carriage Club obtained a bank loan for $60,000 and a newly restored swimming pool was completed. A new above-ground filtration system was installed, new gutters and surrounding decking went in, and the insides of the pool were freshly plastered and painted where needed.

In February 1996, the membership area was expanded to include all of Avon. This was approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission on a temporary basis for two years.

The Carriage Club went before the Avon Planning and Zoning Commission on February 24, 1998 to see “to maintain and/or make permanent its membership limit and membership eligibility area” approved in February 1996. The Commission approved of our maintaining the numbers and area limit for another two-year period under one condition: “The Carriage Club management shall exert reasonable efforts to minimize noise”. The approvals were finally made permanent in 2000.

Membership, however, averaged around 80-85 families for those years and for several years after 2000. The Club continued to thrive, and could keep its financial situation in check while paying down the 15-year mortgage on the pool.

Carriage Club – The Recent Years (2004 – Present) or “The Pool Boy Era”

In 2004, a member whose family first joined the Carriage Club the previous year was elected president for the next two years.  At the time, the Carriage Club was still largely operating in accordance with the initial by-laws which generally required two-year term limits for officers.  However, like other non-profit organizations, it had become increasingly challenging to find people with the time and willingness to serve on the board.  When Bill Holloman (aka “Pool Boy”) accepted the position, it was unimaginable what impact he would ultimately have on the Carriage Club. 

In his first year as president, the tradition of ice cream socials began.  These socials were held in celebration of the last day of school in June.  In some years, they were also held on the first day of the school year in late August or early September.  In 2004, the annual Carriage Club printed directory was published for the first time.

With Bill Holloman leading the efforts, 2005 was a breakthrough year when the board voted to heat the pool with solar panels. It was a significant investment for the Carriage Club, which began to pay off immediately with increased membership.  In 2005, the kids’ swim team was established.

In 2006, Bill agreed to continue as president for an unprecedented third year. That year, membership at the Carriage Club was at capacity.  It has been at capacity nearly every year since then, often with a waiting list for as long as 1-2 years.  The Club’s financial condition continued to improve dramatically.  In July 2006, we paid down a sizable chunk of the mortgage as well as refinanced at a favorable rate.  Following the 2007 season, the mortgage was completely paid off.

In recent years, new Carriage Club traditions have become very popular.  In particular, the Friday night “wine downs” are always fun.  Our newest activity, the end of season “Pig Roast” has proven to be particularly popular, especially when live music is included.  Old traditions such as the new member social, and the family day BBQ continue as Carriage Club favorites.  Not to mention the ice-cream social.  Spring and fall clean-up days (with the usual coffee and donuts) always attract eager volunteers to do some work.

In 2017, Bill is now president for the 14th consecutive year.  His enthusiasm and passion for the Carriage Club is unwavering, as is the dedication of other board members, most of whom have served long past the two-year limit initially imposed.  Improvements at the Club are evident each season.  Most notably, in 2013, a major project was undertaken when the old tennis courts were replaced by (1) one full tennis court, (2) two USTA ¼ size courts and (3) ½ basketball court; with lines painted on the court.  An adjustable basketball system was donated by a Carriage Club member.  In 2016, work commenced to use propane heaters to keep the pool comfortably warm all season long.  Starting with the 2017 season, these heaters are now in use.

The Carriage Club Today
50 years after the Club was first envisioned, it still continues as a neighborhood Club operated by its members who volunteer their time.  Although Avon has grown tremendously and members come from all over town, the same friendly spirit exists.  We’ve had members leave the Carriage Club to try different things, only to come back “home” after a break to re-join. While the composition of the board hasn’t changed too much in recent years, the Carriage Club continues to function so well due to the volunteer efforts of so many of its members.  Whether it’s spending hours laboring around the pool or landscaping efforts on the grounds or making the clubhouse look nice, everyone’s efforts are always appreciated.  The plantings and other beautification activities help give the Club a homey feel. The tremendous behind-the-scenes efforts to organize and run one of our parties or activities cannot be understated.  As each generation of members puts in their share to help the Club, it will continue to exist for the enjoyment of all.

Carriage Club Member(s) of the Year

2004 Carl Foster
2005 Diane Beir, Geoff Perry, Robert Polans
2006 Dave Diamond
2007 Andrea & Matt Murphy
2008 Cheryl Edwards
2009 The D’Arcangelo family
2010 The Horigan family and The Dorsky family
2011 Liz Brisco, Sally Stapleton
2012 Pig Roast Committee: Bob Bernarduci, Vince Blea, Cheryl Edwards, Matt Murphy, Lynn Valente
2013 Kim Perez
2014 Geoff Perry

Carriage Club Board

1967
Bill Heronemus, Chairman
Ken Brooks, Treasurer*
Bob Eden
Bill Bauer
Bert Dully

1968
Bill Heronemus, Chairman
Lorraine Becker, Treasurer*
Bob Eden
Bill Bauer
John Hartman
Bert Dully

1969
Rich Kuchnir, President
Lorraine Becker, Treasurer*
Pete Bernard
Dick Lennox
John Hartman
Bert Dully

1970
Rich Kuchnir, President
Dick Lennox, Vice President
Ruth Pandiscio, Secretary
Ed Grew, Treasurer*
Pete Barnard
Don Cummins
Joe Lester

1971
Joe Lester, President
Don Cummins, Vice President
Ruth Pandiscio, Secretary
Betty Lennox, Treasurer*
Morgan Betts
John Greulich
Gordon Hendrickson

1972
Gordon Hendrickson, President
Bob Christopher, Vice President
Ann Stevens, Secretary
Betty Lennox, Treasurer*
Morgan Betts
John Greulich
Ted Osinksi

1973
Jack Elliott, President
Ann Stevens, Vice President and Secretary
Frank Hatch, Treasurer*
Maureen Zachariasen, Social
Ted Osinski, Pool
Bill Richards, Tennis & Grounds
Bob Christopher, Membership


1974
Bill Richards, President
Maureen Zachariasen, Vice Pres. and Secretary and Membership
Frank Hatch, Treasurer*
Gerry Rice, Social and Membership
George Linn, Pool
James McCusken, Grounds
Jack Elliott, Clubhouse & Tennis

1975
Bob Eden, President
Charles Caley, Treasurer*
Gail Gemme, Activities
Roy Zachariasen, Grounds
Alice Betts, Activities
Joe Kelly, Membership
George Linn, Pool

1976
Alice Betts, President
Charles Caley, Treasurer*
Gail Gemme, Activities
John Pappalardo, Membership
Brian Scott, Grounds
Edward Venner, Pools
Gerry Leonard, Tennis

1977
John Pappalardo, President
Charles Caley, Treasurer*
Brian Scott
Don Studley
Edward Venner
Gerry Leonard
Ann Licopantis, Secretary
Mary McBrayer

1978
Rudy Presutti, President, Membership
Gary Corliss, Vice President, Building & Tennis
Ann Licopantis, Secretary
Gary Corliss, Treasurer*
Don Studley, Grounds
Mary McBrayer, Social
Tom Dembik, Pool

1979
Rudy Presutti, President and Grounds
Gary Corliss, Vice President & Treasurer
Joanne Hatch, Secretary
Tom Dembik, Pool
George Lawless, Building
Judy Whitehead, Social

1980
George Linn, President
Gail Grant, Secretary
Gary Corliss, Treasurer*
George McCannon
George Lawliss
Ted Osinski

1981
George Linn, President
Gail Grant, Secretary
Gary Corliss, Treasurer*
George McCannon
Pat McFaddin
Ron Hick
Ted Osinski

1982
George McCannon, President
Pat McFaddin, Secretary
Gary Corliss, Treasurer*
George Linn
Paul Donahue
Bob Tansor
Margaret Pappalardo

1983
Paul Donahue, President
Margaret Pappalardo, Secretary
Gary Corliss, Treasurer*
Ron Hick, Pool Maintenance
Keith Baldwin, Pool Maintenance
Don Armour, Grounds
Rita Pelligrini, Social Activity

1984
Keith Baldwin, President
Ron Hick, Vice President
Rita Pelligrini, Secretary
Gary Corliss, Treasurer*
Don Armour, Pool Grounds
Daryl Ellef, Social Activities
Gregory Wilde, Membership

1985
Greg Wilde, President
Don Armour, Vice President
Carole Baldwin, Secretary
Gary Corliss, Treasurer*
Daryl Ellef, Social Activities
Michael Decicco
Edie Koplecheck
Linda Meyers

1986
Mike DeCicco, President
Linda Meyers, Vice President
Carole Baldwin, Secretary
Jeff Shapiro, Treasurer
Sara Beebe
Edie Kopelcheck
Peter Ellef

1987
Sarah Beebe, President
Maryann Linn, Vice President
Stephen Philbrick, Secretary
Jeff Shapiro, Treasurer
Jim Moor, Membership
Peter Ellef, Social

1988
Stephen Philbrick, President
Maryann Linn
Jim Moor, Treasurer
Rolin Sugg
Jim Leonard
Ann Flynn

1989
Scott Remley, President
Rolin Sugg, Vice President
Ann Flynn, Secretary
Jim Moor, Treasurer (non-Board position)
John Peluso
Greg Peck
Jim Leonard

1990
Scott Remley, President
John Peluso
Greg Peck
David Dee
Gina Beare
Alfred J. Geiling, Treasurer

1991
David Dee, President
Alfred J Geiling, Treasurer
Becky Blankenbicker
Jim Leonard
Ralph Betancourt
Gina Beare
Jim Felds

1992
Barbara Leonard, President
Polly Philbrook, Vice President
Ralph Betancourt, Secretary
Brenda Geiling, Treasurer
Mary Lou Gold
Gina Beare

1993
Alfred J. Geiling, Treasurer
Bert Dully

1994
Mike Dicicco, President
Howard Spargo, Vice President
Maryann Linn, Secretary
Scott Stevens, Treasurer
Ed Doyle
Bert Dully

1995
Howard Spargo, President
Mario Fabrizzio, Vice President
Maryann Linn, Secretary
Scott Stevens, Treasurer
Mike Dicicco, Past President
Charley Herbert
Ed Doyle

1996
Charley Herbert, President

1997
Carl Sauerbrunn, President
Ralph Gobell, Treasurer

1998
Howard Spargo, President
Barbara Leonard, Vice President
Krista Sugg, Secretary
Ralph Gobell, Treasurer
Eric Estes, Membership

1999
Kathleen Bowlby, President
Barbara Leonard, Vice President
Carl Foster, Secretary
Holly Ryan, Treasurer
Eric Estes, Membership

2000
Todd Chappel, Co-President
Rich Getz, Co-President
Carl Foster, Secretary
Holly Ryan, Treasurer
Vivian Little, Membership

2001
Rich Getz, President
Todd Chappel, Vice President
Peggy Gorham, Secretary
Dave Diamond, Treasurer
Vivian Little, Membership
Susan Lane
Ken McGovern

2002
Paul Hammick, President
Brian Dirgins, Vice President
Diane Beir, Secretary
Dave Diamond, Treasurer
Peggy Gorham, Membership
Susan Lane, Lifeguards
Ken McGovern

2003
Paul Hammick, President
Brian Dirgins, Vice President
Walter Schuppe, Secretary
Barbara Hillmeyer, Treasurer
Diane Beir, Membership
Andrea Murphy, Lifeguards
Jim Gorham

2004
Bill Holloman, President
Dave Yost, Vice President
Eileen Carroll, Secretary
Barbara Hillmeyer, Treasurer
Diane Beir, Membership
Andrea Murphy, Lifeguards
Dave Diamond, Payroll/Taxes/Website
Mary-beth Hart, Member-at-Large
Walter Schuppe, Member-at-Large

2005
Bill Holloman, President
Andrea Murphy, Vice President
Margaret Cooper, Secretary
Vince Blea, Treasurer
Mary-beth Hart, Clubhouse/Grounds
Geoff Perry, Lifeguards
Dave Diamond, Payroll/Taxes/Website
Dave Yost, Member-at-Large

2006
Bill Holloman, President
Geoff Perry, Vice President and Membership
Margaret Cooper, Secretary
Vince Blea, Treasurer
Sue Arciero, Lifeguards
Cheryl Edwards, Clubhouse/Grounds
Andrea Murphy, Social
Dave Diamond, Payroll/Taxes/Website

2007
Bill Holloman, President
Geoff Perry, Vice President and Membership
Margaret Cooper, Secretary
Jill Rendeiro, Treasurer
Stacey Biernat, Lifeguards
Cheryl Edwards, Clubhouse/Grounds
Sally Stapleton, Social
Dave Diamond, Payroll/Taxes/Website

2008
Bill Holloman, President
Geoff Perry, Vice President and Membership
Margaret Cooper, Secretary
Jill Rendeiro, Treasurer
Stacey Biernat, Lifeguards
Cheryl Edwards, Clubhouse/Grounds
Linda Horrigan, Clubhouse/Grounds
Sally Stapleton, Social
Dave Diamond, Payroll/Taxes/Website

2009
Bill Holloman, President
Geoff Perry, Vice President and Membership
Margaret Cooper, Secretary
Sally Stapleton, Treasurer
Cheryl Edwards, Social Chair
Sara Jones, Lifeguards
Linda Horrigan, Clubhouse/Grounds
Dave Diamond, Payroll/Taxes/Website

2010
Bill Holloman, President
Geoff Perry, Vice President and Membership
Mickey Dorsky, Secretary
Sally Stapleton, Treasurer
Liz Brisco, Lifeguards
Linda Horrigan, Clubhouse/Grounds
Dave Diamond, Payroll/Taxes/Website
Cheryl Edwards, Member-at-Large

2011
Bill Holloman, President
Geoff Perry, Vice President and Membership
Mickey Dorsky, Secretary
Sally Stapleton, Treasurer
Liz Brisco, Lifeguards
Linda Horrigan, Clubhouse/Grounds
Dave Diamond, Payroll/Taxes/Website
Cheryl Edwards, Member-at-Large

2012
Bill Holloman, President
Geoff Perry, Vice President and Membership
Mickey Dorsky, Secretary
Andrea Stalf, Treasurer
Liz Brisco, Lifeguards
Janice Lord, Clubhouse/Grounds
Dave Diamond, Payroll/Taxes/Website
Cheryl Edwards, Member-at-Large

2013
Bill Holloman, President
Geoff Perry, Vice President and Membership
Margaret Cooper, Secretary
Kim Perez, Treasurer
Liz Brisco, Lifeguards
Cheryl Edwards, Clubhouse/Grounds
Dave Diamond, Payroll/Taxes/Website
Bob Bernarduci, Member-at-Large

2014
Bill Holloman, President
Geoff Perry, Vice President and Membership
Margaret Cooper, Secretary
Kim Perez, Treasurer
Liz Brisco, Lifeguards
Cheryl Edwards, Clubhouse/Grounds
Dave Diamond, Payroll/Taxes/Website
Bob Bernarduci, Member-at-Large

2015
Bill Holloman, President
Geoff Perry, Vice President and Membership
Margaret Cooper, Secretary
Kim Perez, Treasurer
Liz Brisco, Lifeguards
Cheryl Edwards, Clubhouse/Grounds
Dave Diamond, Payroll/Taxes/Website
Bob Bernarduci, Member-at-Large

2016
Bill Holloman, President
Geoff Perry, Vice President and Membership
Margaret Cooper, Secretary
Kim Perez, Treasurer
Liz Brisco, Lifeguards
Cheryl Edwards, Clubhouse/Grounds
Dave Diamond, Payroll/Taxes/Website
Bob Bernarduci, Member-at-Large

2017
Bill Holloman, President
Geoff Perry, Vice President and Membership
Margaret Cooper, Secretary
Kim Perez, Treasurer
Liz Brisco, Lifeguards
Cheryl Edwards, Clubhouse/Grounds
Dave Diamond, Payroll/Taxes/Website

* Treasurer not considered on the Board of Governors from inception through 1985.

Club records were sometimes unclear as to exactly who was on the board vs who headed up a committee. Attempts were made to correctly identify board members, along with specified position / title. We regret any inaccuracies.