Beth Cronin may live in Dupont now, but she will always say she is from Avoca.
“When you’re from Avoca… that’s where you always will belong,” she said.
For 12 years, Cronin has curated her love for her hometown into a Facebook group called “You Know You are From Avoca When.”
“We have it all there compiled,” she said. “Anybody can sit down and look at it and learn about the town.”
The page now has about 1,400 members and daily posts featuring photos, memories, and historic facts. Cronin said not all members are active posters in the group, but she appreciates when some of the more quiet members get involved and start to reminisce.
“I didn’t really think there would be that many people,” she said. “They all want it, they sit and go through the pictures. Some don’t ever speak, other times everybody’s active.”
Group member Ellen Scatena said she stays in the group for the photos members and administrators like Cronin post.
“It is great seeing old photos from the past, learning about the past, comparing old photos of buildings to what they look like today and remembering what businesses were replaced or torn down,” she said.
For Molly Sammon Sipes, the group is a link to her beloved hometown.
“I left Avoca after college,” she said. “I never thought I’d miss it so much.”
Cronin feels the nature of growing up in such a “tight” town has led so many people to harbor such affection for Avoca and the people who have lived in the community for decades.
“Most people’s families grew up there too,” she said.
She said her goal is to highlight the people who make Avoca a good place to live. She remembered a police officer who would help children cross the street when she was young.
“You were raised by the town,” she said. “You remember all those people and I don’t want them to be forgotten.”
Group member Joe Boone, who moved away from Avoca after graduating high school, said being part of the group brings back those memories of growing up around town and has re-introduced him to friends from home.
“I haven’t been back in a couple of years, but when I do, I run into someone I haven’t seen in 40 years and you’d think we just talked last week,” he said. “You can take a person out of Avoca, but you can never, ever take Avoca out of a person.”