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Avonlea Village Improvement Society

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Avonlea Village Improvement Society
Organisation information
Type

Society

Founder(s)
Founded

August 1881

Dissolved

sometime after September 1890

President

Gilbert Blythe

Vice-president

Fred Wright

Secretary

Anne Shirley

Treasurer

Diana Barry

Members
Location

Avonlea, Prince Edward Island

Intentions

To improve the village of Avonlea through projects such as fixing up the Avonlea Hall, clearing crossroads, floral additions, the removal of the old Boulter house and the installation of the telephone

Affiliation

Avonlea

The Avonlea Village Improvement Society, or the A.V.I.S. for short, was a society founded by Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe.

Members

Description

The A.V.I.S was founded by Anne Shirley, who at first asked for the advice of several elders including Mr. Allan and Mrs. Allan, Marilla, and Mrs Lynde. All of them approved except Mrs. Lynde, who was undecided because she heard that village improvement societies were started by Yankees, which was a negative factor to her. When she learned that Mr. and Mrs. Allan approved, Mrs. Lynde began to see the more positive aspects of the group.

They funded their enterprise by collecting funds from subscribers.

Gilbert's role

Gilbert was sort of a semi-founder, although it wasn't his idea to start the A.V.I.S, he often received insider information from Anne even before Diana. He received a gift for "founding" the A.V.I.S., namely a fountain pen.

List of canvassed people

Name Contribution
Eliza and Catherine Andrews
  • Catherine gave 3 quarters and would have liked to give more, but wasn't allowed to by her older sister Eliza, who gave none.
Daniel Blair
  • Daniel gave 4 dollars, because he was grateful that Anne and Diana helped him mix-up a cake.
Mrs. White
  • Theodore White's wife gave 2 dollars, because she didn't want Anne and Diana to stay in her house.
Isabella Spencer
  • Isabella gave nothing and made Anne and Diana miserable by saying something ill-natured about everyone in Avonlea.
Thomas Boulter
  • Thomas refused to give anything because the hall, when it had been built, twenty years before, hadn't been built on the site he recommended.
Esther Bell
  • Esther gave 50 cents, because "she wouldn't be there that time next year to do it... no, she would be in her grave."
Simon Fletcher
  • Simon didn't answer the door, when Anne and Diana canvassed him.
Sloane family
Robert Dickson
  • Robert gave liberally and Anne and Diana stayed for tea.
Lorenzo White
  • Lorenzo gave 5 dollars, the highest amount because he had a new baby and he felt that he got his five dollars' worth of the girls' honest delight over the plump little newcomer.
James A. Harrison
  • Mr. Harrison approved of the society, but would not contribute financially.

Projects

The Blue Hall

The Blue Hall, always remembered in Avonlea's history as a comical mishap, was the first attempt of the A.V.I.S.

Not intended to be blue, the A.V.I.S. were going to paint the hall. They had all decided on a dark green for paint, and red shingles. The order for the colour of paint, though, went through several people and ended up coming out as blue! Joshua Pye, the painter, shrugged it off and said he was hired to paint and not to colour coordinate.

The A.V.I.S., of course, was heartbroken. 'Despair personified', Anne Shirley and Diana Barry were distraught. Nonetheless, nothing was to be done about it.

Jacob Donnell wrote about the Avonlea Hall in his letter to Anne Shirley, the teacher of the Avonlea School.

Dear Miss Shirley,


You told us to describe something strange we have seen. I will describe the Avonlea Hall. It has two doors, an inside one and an outside one. It has six windows and a chimney. It has two ends and two sides. It is painted blue. That is what makes it strange. It is built on the lower Carmody road. It is the third most important building in Avonlea. The others are the church and the blacksmith shop. They hold debating clubs and lectures in it and concerts.

Yours truly,

Jacob Donnell.

P.S. The hall is very bright blue.

The A.V.I.S. was mortified about their mistake. The hall was later repainted by the A.V.I.S. after Anne and Gilbert left.

Removal of the Boulter house

The A.V.I.S. tried very hard to get the Boulter house, an old and tumble-down place that was an eyesore to all that passed, removed. However, the owner was stubborn. When a bad storm came up, though, it was so beaten up that the owner consented its removal... although he claimed ever afterward that the A.V.I.S. had called up that storm just on purpose!

Installation of the telephone

People in Avonlea enjoyed the telephone and were able to contact each other more conveniently, with the only setback being that other people could listen to the conversation.

End

The A.V.I.S. disbanded after Anne married, as it could not survive without her ideas and enthusiasm.

Appearances

Book appearances

TV series appearances

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