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Meriden, CT
Wilcox Avenue Neighborhood Association

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Here's your opportunity to learn more about the history and activities
of the Wilcox Avenue Neighborhood Association (WANA) which is
located in my home town ... the Silver City of the Nutmeg / Constitution state.
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[The Wilcox Avenue Neighborhood Association]
[Victorian Home]

"Old Friends are Worth Keeping"

{Association's Story} -*- {Beginning of W.A.N.A.}
{The Avenue's History} -*- {Many Accomplishments}
{Special Thanks} -*- {Sentimental Journey}

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The Story of the Association

If you visit the northwest section of Meriden, CT, you may accidentally find a street which is lined with Victorian and Shingle Period homes that, except for the sheer size of most of the dwellings, appears to be an average inner city street.

It is a representation of a lot of streets in the "Silver City", whose balcyon started prior to the turn-of-the-century and continued through the Second World War.

Post-war times did not look favorably on Wilcox Avenue as with other inner city streets, and shortly these gracious Victorian Homes started to fall into decay through neglect, absentee landlordism and transient tenants.

Over the course of 40 years, Wilcox Avenue, once a tourist attraction for Sunday drivers, became a street of "white elephants" destined to lose their identity and history to urban blight.

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The Beginning of WANA

During the late 1970's and early in the 80's, with soaring home prices city wide, the Avenue became a haven for first time home buyers. Slowly but surely, homes were repaired and a small community of adventurous restorationists and renovators evolved. Realizing that most residents wanted the street to be returned to its original beauty, they joined together to work with city officials and each other to attain their goals.

Volunteering their time and monies, WANA became known as a "self help" group who believes that a little hard work and community creativeness can make a big difference to their environment. They are a democratic group who elects their officers, has bi-monthly meetings, and follows "Roberts Rules of Order".

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The Avenue's History

One thing that helped to spur enthusiasm was the street's rich history. The more the asociation learned about the Avenue's past the more they wanted to find-out.

Horace C. Wilcox, for whom the street is named, was an estute businessman who founded the Meriden Britannia Company in 1852. He was Meriden's Fifth Mayor and was active in state and local government. After his death in 1890, his estate was partitioned in building lots and construction of these gracious homes commenced.

In the early years of Wilcox Avenue, the homes were owned and inhabited by noted bankers, business owners, professionals and politicians. With their manicured lawns, tree lined sidewalks and meticulous craftsmanship, they stood out as an example of fine Victorian living.

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Special Thanks ...

To the Bradley Home for providing WANA
with a meeting room for the last 12 years.

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Gonna take a sentimental journey,
Gonna set my heart at ease ...
Gonna take a sentimental journey,
To renew old memories.

- Written by Benjamin Homer (pen name for Benjamin Hozer), while he was residing on Wilcox Avenue. He was later inducted into the "Silver City's" Hall of Fame and was the youngest person ever inducted into ASCAP, the national composer's organization.

[Wilcox Avenue map]

"...Let's make no mistake about this:

The American Dream starts with the neighborhoods. If we wish to rebuild our cities, we must first rebuild our neighborhoods. And to do that, we must understand that quality of life is more important than the standard of living.

To sit on the front steps - whether it's a veranda in a small town or a concrete stoop in a big city - and talk to our neighbors is infinitely more important than to huddle on the living-room lounger and watch a make-believe world in not quite living color."

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be sure to

[Meriden, CT Community Calendar]
Meriden, CT
Community Calendar

for additional upcoming events

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Above text reproduced by permission from
Wilcox Avenue Neighborhood Association brochure.
Data subject to changes, errors and omissions.

modified February 25, 2000
created February 24, 2000