In 1875, after the railroad was completed and the first depot was built, the land owners and the railroad company laid off a town and named it "AVA" after the daughter of postmaster George W. Johnson who donated the land for the depot. It was referred to as the Town of Ava.
In 1877, the first general election was held and the Town of Ava had its first
municipal officers. At this time the town's population was 350 and growing
rapidly. A Police Magistrate and Town Constable was hired and brought the
rowdies to justice or ran them out of town. Around this time the Callahan Gang
derailed the train near Ava and robbed it. The railroad marshals and the Jackson
County Sheriff, John B. Kimball, arrested the Callahan Gang for robbery in 1878.
The County Judge sentenced all but one of the men in the gang to the
On July 9, 1894 Ava was incorporated by public election as the "Village of Ava."
The population was 800 at this time.
In order for a village to become a city in 1901, it had to have a population of
at least 1,000. On March 4, 1901 the Board of Trustees received a petition to
incorporate as a city. Village President C.S. Gordon appointed Lon Curtis Census
Taker to see if the Village had sufficient population to become a city.
Census Taker Curtis found the total population of the Village to be 1,112 of
which there were 548 males and 564 females. The familiar joke was, "They counted
all the living and the dead to obtain the City charter". On April 18, 1901 the
Village became the City of Ava.
Ava High School 1912 Senior class
Left to right - Top Row: Larry Hatfield, Frank Butts, Clyde Cheatham, Ernest Knauer.
Middle Row: Miss Edna Dannenbrix, Miss Lotie Gordon, Miss Eola Knauer.
Bottom Row: Gordon Easterly, Clade Varnum, John Alley, Tracy Knauer.