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flag  History of Aurora, Illinois, USA

Journey back in time to Aurora, Illinois, USA

Visit Aurora, Illinois, USA. Discover its history. Learn about the people who lived there through stories, old newspaper articles, pictures, postcards and ancestry.

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Aurora, Illinois, USA - City Hall

Aurora, Kane, IL

A post office was established in 1837, officially creating Aurora. Actually, however, Aurora was originally two villages: East Aurora, incorporated in 1845, on the east side of the river, and West Aurora, formally organized on the west side of the river in 1854. In 1857, the two towns joined officially, incorporated as the city of Aurora. The two sides could not agree on which side of the river should house the public buildings, so most public buildings were built on or around Stolp Island in the middle of the Fox River.

As the city grew, many factories and jobs came to Aurora, along with many people. In 1856, the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad located its roundhouse and locomotive shop in Aurora to become the town's largest employer until the 1960s.

There is MUCH more to discover about Aurora, Illinois, USA. Read on!

Aurora Nostalgia: Vintage Photos, Ads, and Postcards

City Hall
Aurora, Illinois, USA

City Hall
East Fox Street Bridge
Aurora, Illinois, USA

East Fox Street Bridge
Broadway, Looking North
Aurora, Illinois, USA

Broadway, Looking North

Discover Aurora: History, News, Travel, and Stories

Add informationAdd History/News/Story
1854 - Aurora
Aurora, a thriving post-village of Kane county, Illinois, on Fox river, and on the Chicago and Aurora railroad, 43 miles W. by S. from Chicago, is rapidly increasing in business and population. The river affords a fine water-power, which is extensively employed.

A New and Complete Gazetteer of the United States: Giving a Full and Comprehensive Review of the Present Condition, Industry, and Resources of the American Confederacy ... Thomas Baldwin (of Philadelphia.) Joseph Thomas January 1, 1854 Philadelphia : Lippincott, Grambo & Company 1854.
1868 - The manufacture of cotton batting will soon be commenced in Aurora, Ill., by a party from the East.

St Joseph Herald
Saint Joseph, Michigan
April 11, 1868
1874 - Aurora - Coulter Opera House
1878 - Aurora

Within the bounds of the above described Congressional Township there has arisen, within forty three years, a city which, while it exceeds in size all the others along the banks of Fox River, is surpassed by none of them in the beauty of its location.

On the 25th of November, 1833, Joseph McCarty, a millwright, living in Chemung County, near Elmira, N. Y., left his home, in company with a single companion, one Jeffry tBeardslee, to seek his fortune in the West. Unlike so many others who have left Eastern homes with a similar object in view, he had mapped out a definite course before starting, and decided upon the exact spot where he designed to locate. Proceeding across the country to the head waters of the Alleghany, where a sufficient stop was made to construct a "dug out" of suitable dimensions to convey two passengers and a small chest of tools down the river, the young men launched their rude craft, and floated leisurely toward the mouth... Read MORE...

1895 - Aurora
Aurora, a city of Kane co., Ill., in Aurora township, on Fox River, and on the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Rail road at its junction with the Chicago & Iowa Railroad, 39 miles W.S.W. of Chicago, 160 miles E.S.E. of Dubuque, and 44 miles N.E. of Ottawa. It is the N.E. terminus of a railroad called the Fox River Line, and a branch railroad extends to this place from Turner. It has increased rapidly in the last decade. It contains 2 high and 9 public schools, Jennings Seminary (for both sexes), a fine city hall, 20 churches, 5 national banks, and printing-offices which issue 5 daily, 1 semi-weekly and 3 weekly newspapers, stove works, iron-works, a cotton-factory, a road-cart factory, a foundry, smelting and refining works, several machine shops, 4 flouring-mills, a woollen-mill, a manufactory of silverware, 4 manufactories of carriages, and 3 of sash and blinds. Here are workshops of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, which employ over 1200 men making cars, &c. It has a... Read MORE...

1895 - BOYS KILLED AT AURORA. A Train Ran Into an Open Switch Where They Played.
Aurora, Ill., Aug. 16. - A passenger train on the Northwestern road ran through an open switch here this evening, crashing into a car loaded with carboys of acid. The fluid scattered in every direction adding to the deadly work done by the collision.

The killed are:

The injured were:
Fred Robinson, Aurora, badly burned by acid
Arthur Robinson, Aurora, frightfully burned
Mrs. Nancy Smith, Chicago, nose broken
Conductor Charlson, Aurora, back injured
Brakeman William Farrell, Aurora, back injured and cut about the head
J. Munch, Aurora, burned about the body.

The accident occurred in the Aurora yards, one mile from the depot. Seven boys were playing on a car when the train, running at full speed, swung onto the siding. There was no chance to escape. Two met death, while the others were more or less burned.
The Aspen Weekly Times
Aspen, Colorado
August 17, 1895
1907 - Cohabitation and Polygamy
In an address at the chautauqua at Aurora, Ill., Senator DuBois, of Idaho, urged his hearers to use their influence with the Illinois representatives in congress to secure and amendment of the constitution under which the federal government will have power to deal with unlawful cohabitation and polygamy and thus check the spreading of political power of the Mormon church.
The Clinton Mirror
Clinton, Iowa
August 24, 1907
Aurora, a city of Kane co., Ill., on the Fox River and on tho Chicago, Burlington and Quincy and other railroads, 39 miles WSW. of Chicago. It is an important commercial and manufacturing centre, and contains several stove- and iron-works, cotton-factories, smelting and refining works, machine-shops, flour- and woollen-mills, and manufactories of carriages, silverware, sash and blinds. Here are extensive railway car-shops, etc. Aurora claims to have been the earliest city of the United States to light its streets by electricity (1881). Pop. in 1890, 19,688; in 1900, 24,147.
Lippincotts New Gazetteer: A Complete Pronouncing Gazetteer Or Geographical Dictionary of the World, Containing the Most Recent and Authentic Information Respecting the Countries, Cities, Towns, Resorts, Islands, Rivers, Mountains, Seas, Lakes, Etc., in Every Portion of the Globe, Part 1 Angelo Heilprin Louis Heilprin - January 1, 1916 J.B. Lippincott - Publisher
1966 - May 10 - Morning lows of 21 degrees at Bloomington-Normal and Aurora, IL, established a state record for the month of May.

The Weather Channel
2023 - Whether you're a local looking for something new to do or a visitor exploring the area, there's something for everyone in Aurora. Here's a list of places to go and things to do in this exciting city:
Paramount Theatre: Start your visit by catching a show at the historic Paramount Theatre. This beautiful venue hosts a wide range of live performances, from Broadway musicals to concerts and comedy acts.

Phillips Park: Spend a day at Phillips Park, a 325-acre park offering activities like hiking, picnicking, and a golf course. The park also has a zoo, a beautiful Sunken Garden, and a Mastodon Gallery.

SciTech Hands-On Museum: If you're visiting with kids or have a curious mind, the SciTech Hands-On Museum is a fantastic place to explore science and technology through interactive exhibits.

Farnsworth House: Architecture enthusiasts shouldn't miss the chance to visit the Farnsworth House. Designed by the famous architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, this iconic glass house is a masterpiece of modern architecture.

RiverEdge Park: This scenic outdoor venue hosts concerts, festivals, and events throughout the year. It's a great place to enjoy live music or just take a leisurely... Read MORE...

Discover Your Roots: Aurora Ancestry

Ancestors Who Were Born or Died in Aurora, Illinois, USA

We currently have information about ancestors who were born or died in Aurora.

View Them Now (sorted by year of birth)

female ancestorPaulina K STIEVENS (9 April 1855, Chicago, Illinois, USA - 3 October 1905, Aurora, Illinois, USA)
female ancestorRoseanna BREAULT (BRAULT) (14 January 1857, Aurora, Illinois, USA - 5 November 1889, Aurora, Kansas, USA)
male ancestorCarl Johann Friedrich KUEHL (20 August 1860, Mecklenburg, Germany - 15 March 1933, Aurora, Illinois, USA)
female ancestorWilhelmina NOLDE (15 February 1861, Willendorf, Germany - 4 December 1932, Aurora, Illinois, USA)
female ancestorMarguerite UVERLING (16 December 1893, Aurora, Illinois, USA - 15 May 1989, Aurora, Illinois, USA)
female ancestorFlorence Margaret OECHSLEIN (January 11 1907, Aurora, Illinois, USA - August 18 1992, San Diego, California, USA)
male ancestorIra Charles JOHNSON (1910, , Illinois, USA - , Aurora, Illinois, USA)
male ancestorWayne SANDERSON (October 26 1927, Aurora, Illinois, USA - September 8, 2012, Springfield, Illinois, USA)

Ancestors Who Were Married in Aurora, Illinois, USA

We currently have information about ancestors who were married in Aurora.

View Them Now

male ancestorPierre Joseph MOISANT (5 January 1854 - 22 March 1915) and female ancestorRoseanna BREAULT (BRAULT) (14 January 1857 - 5 November 1889) married 1873
male ancestorCarl Johann Friedrich KUEHL (20 August 1860 - 15 March 1933) and female ancestorWilhelmina NOLDE (15 February 1861 - 4 December 1932) married 10 November 1894

Genealogy Resources for Aurora

Illinois Newspapers

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Updated: 10/15/2023 3:18:53 PM