During the Victorian era indicative of her growth, the land was officially named New Branch around 1855, but according to what map you looked at or to whom you talk to, the land also was known as the Swanton Tract or the Lewis Greene Property.
In 1878 the Jersey Shore was in her infancy. Long Branch, Asbury Park and Ocean Grove were very popular summer vacation spots for the wealthy visitors from New York and Philadelphia.
One of these summer visitors to Ocean Grove was Edward Batchelor, a very successful tobacco manufacturer from Philadelphia who had come to Ocean Grove to relax and fish. One day Batchelor decided to visit a local fishing spot called "Deep Hole" just south of New Branch at Shark River. During the trip to "Deep Hole" he passed through New Branch and was very impressed by the land. On the return trip Batchelor spied signs advertising the land for sale. The very next day Batchelor purchased 300 acres of land from T.W. Finn for $45,000.00.
In 1897, Robert C. Love, surveyor and F.G. Harrison, an engineer were contracted by Mr. Batchelor to look after his newly acquired land and under the supervision of the two men the town gradually took form. Originally Batchelor planned to use the land as the new center for his tobacco firm. With this in mind he named the land "Key East" presumably after a type of tobacco or cigar. A short while later, however, on the advice of Love and Harrison, Batchelor decided to develop Key East for its real estate potential.
Over the next decade, Batchelor provided the investment needed to construct the basic facilities essential to a growing resort community. The town was surveyed and divided into lots and sold for premiums unheard of on the Jersey Shore. Roads were cut through the dense woods, a sewer system was built, as was the Pavilion on Norwood and Ocean Avenue. Most important of all was the construction of the Avon Inn in 1883.
The town as "Avon-By-The-Sea" came into existence when it was incorporated under an act of legislature as a borough on March 23,1900. Where the name Avon comes from is something that a good many people wonder about, but it is easily enough understood when one considers that even in the days of "Key East" that hotel at the foot of Sylvania Avenue was known as the "Avon" Inn. It is not logical then to believe that when the town was renamed they patterned after the name and called the borough Avon-By-The-Sea.
There is little vacant or unused space in the community today, yet it's growth is not, nor has it ever been unrestrained or chaotic. Although there are commercial establishments on Main Street and Ocean Avenue, they are surrounded by residential development so that the basic character of the town has not been altered. After the town became Avon-By-The Sea, vast improvements were made. A boardwalk was laid and fire companies were organized. The present public school was built in 1908 and the library was built in 1916. Avon-By-The-Sea represents a conservative type of growth. While there have been changes in Avon, they have been neither radical nor inconsistent with past commitments.