Aurora, Illinois: Wikis


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Aurora, Illinois
The Paramount Theatre, Waubonsee Community College building and Leland Tower
Official name: City of Aurora
Motto: A City Second to None
Nickname: City of Lights
Country United States
State Illinois
Counties Kane, DuPage, Kendall, Will
Townships Aurora, Naperville, Wheatland, Sugar Grove, Batavia, Winfield, Oswego
River Fox
Elevation 722 ft (220 m)
Coordinates 41°45′48″N 88°17′24″W / 41.76333°N 88.29°W / 41.76333; -88.29
Area 39.42 sq mi (102 km2)
 - land 38.53 sq mi (100 km2)
 - water 0.89 sq mi (2 km2)
Population 171,782 (2008 est.)
Density 3,711.5 /sq mi (1,433 /km2)
Settled 1834
Incorporated 1845
Government Mayor-council
Mayor Tom Weisner
Timezone CST (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 60502, 60503, 60504, 60505, 60506
Area codes 630, 331
Demonym Auroran
Location of Aurora within Illinois
Location of Aurora within Illinois
Wikimedia Commons: Aurora, Illinois

Aurora is the second largest city in Illinois,[3] with a population of 171,782 (2008 est.)[1] and part of the Chicago metropolitan area. The city refers to itself as "The City of Lights" because it was one of the first cities in the United States to implement an all-electric street lighting system in 1881. Aurora officially adopted the nickname in 1908.[4]



Downtown Aurora, IL: Fox River and Galena Boulevard dam, Paramount Theatre, Aurora Riverwalk, Civic Center, and Leland Tower

Before white settlers arrived, there was a Native American village in what is today downtown Aurora, on the banks of the Fox River. In 1834, following the Black Hawk War, the McCarty brothers arrived and initially owned land on both sides of the river, but sold their lands on the west side. The Lake Brothers opened a mill on the opposite side of the river. The McCartys lived and operated their mill on the east side.[5] Aurora was originally two villages: one on the East Side of the Fox River founded by the McCarty brothers and the West Side founded by the Lake brothers. A post office was established in 1837, officially creating Aurora. In 1857, Aurora (then what is now known as the East Side) joined with the West Side and officially incorporated.[4] The Aurora Fire Department was established in 1856, and took ownership of its first fire engine that year. The two sides couldn't 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. (A parking garage stands at the site of the original City Hall and Post Office.)

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 railcar construction and repair shops in Aurora to become the town's largest employer until the 1960s. Many of the heavy industries were located on the East side which provided employment for many generations of European immigrants. Many immigrants flocked to the city, mainly from Great Britain, Ireland, Scandinavia, Luxembourg, Germany, France, and Italy. The professional and managerial workers more likely came from Yankee stock and settled across the river, making the West side more affluent. Aurora became main economic center of the Fox Valley area. The combination of these three factors—a highly industrialized town, a sizable river that divided it, and the Burlington's shops—account for much of the dynamics of Aurora's political, economic, and social history. Both sides of Aurora still maintain a rivalry which is enacted through yearly high school football/basketball games. This is the oldest high school rivalry in the state of Illinois.[4]

Beginning in the boom period, the town was inclusive and tolerant, and welcomed a variety of immigrants and openly supported abolitionism prior to the American Civil War. Mexican migrants began arriving after 1910. Socially, the town was progressive in its attitude toward education, religion, welfare, and women. The first free public school district in Illinois was established in 1851 and a high school for girls four years later. By 1887, 20 congregations, including two African American churches, representing nine denominations were established, and a YWCA started in 1893, still in operation today.[5]

The city was a manufacturing powerhouse until 1974, when the railroad shops closed. Soon many other factories and industrial areas relocated or went out of business. By 1980, there were few operating industrial areas in the city, and unemployment soared to 16%.[5] Although development of the Far East side at Westfield Fox Valley brought stimulus, it helped lead to the decline of the downtown area on Stolp Island. Crime rates were up and street gangs started to form in the mid 1980s. Many Hispanic immigrants also started coming to the city in the 1980s as well. In the late 1980s, several business and industrial parks were established on the outskirts of the city. In 1993, a casino was built downtown, which helped bring the first redevelopment to the downtown area in nearly twenty years. In the late 1990s, more development began in the rural areas outside of Aurora. Subdivisions sprouted up all around the city, especially in Dupage County, and Aurora's population soared. Today, approximately 70,000 of the city's residents live in these areas of the city.


The Phillips Park 'Sunken Garden'.

Aurora is located at 41°45′48″N 88°17′24″W / 41.76333°N 88.29°W / 41.76333; -88.29 (41.7634594 -88.2900680).[2]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 39.42 sq mi (102.1 km2), of which, 38.53 sq mi (99.8 km2) is land and 0.89 sq mi (2.3 km2) or 2.26% is water.

While the city has traditionally been regarded as being in Kane County, Illinois, Aurora is one of only three cities in Illinois whose city limits actually cover parts of four counties (the others are Barrington Hills and Centralia, Illinois): Kane, DuPage, Kendall, and Will. Aurora is the largest city in Kane County, and about 100,000 of the city's residents reside in Kane (and in fact its downtown is still entirely in that county). The DuPage portion of Aurora contains about 60,000 residents. Will and Kendall County together only account for a few thousand of Aurora's total population.

Regions of Aurora

Though politically the city is divided into several wards, Aurora is generally divided into three regions:

  • The West Side, which is located of west of the Fox River.
  • The East Side, which spans the region east of the Fox River, stopping at the DuPage County line.
  • Fox Valley, also referred to as the Far East Side, is the portion of Aurora located east of the Dupage County line. Its name is slightly inaccurate because the region is not located on the Fox River. In fact, some parts of Fox Valley actually lie in the DuPage River watershed instead. The area acquired its name because of its proximity to the Westfield Fox Valley Mall and Fox Valley Villages, one of the first housing developments to be constructed after the mall.


Neighborhood Location Description
Ashton Pointe Far East Side A collection of townhomes/condos built on the border of Aurora and Naperville. Ashton Pointe is located near the intersection of the two major rail lines through Aurora.
Cherry Hill Far West Side An upper middle class neighborhood south of Galena Boulevard, near Blackberry Historical Farm. Cherry Hill was badly damaged in the 1996 flood, but has since recovered. A tornado related to the 1990 Plainfield tornado storm also came close to this neighborhood, but with mostly roof and siding damage.
Copleyville East Side The neighborhood surrounding the now vacant Copley Memorial Hospital. The neighborhood is east of Dutchtown and South of the Near East side. This neighborhood is one of the most densely populated in the city.
Downtown Northwest Side Historic downtown is the heart of Aurora and is home to a number of large historic buildings dating back to the early 1900s. Downtown is located 3 mi (4.8 km) south of Interstate 88. Much of downtown Aurora was developed in the late 1800s and houses several pieces of impressive architecture. Downtown Aurora's decline began in the late 1970s but of late is the home of several new developments including the River Street Plaza Condo development and Downer Place Lofts. Many new businesses have opened with success, along with the Hollywood Casino. A major hotel and high rise condos are planned for the East Bank on the east side of downtown. Today still, many areas just outside downtown remain vacant due to the industrial recession of the 1980s. Downtown Aurora is the home of the famous LeLand Hotel, a 22 story building built in 1921, which housed the Sky Club, a former Blues recording studio. The building once was the tallest building in Illinois outside of Chicago. Today it's used as apartments.
Dutchtown East Side The neighborhood once predominately populated by German immigrants during the first half of the 20th century. The neighborhood is east of Copleyville and south of Uptown.
Foxcroft Far Northwest Side A middle class neighborhood with moderate single family homes and townhomes. It was primarily built in the 1970s and was expected to be an epicenter of growth, which did not materialize for several decades. The West Aurora School district built a high school (commonly called North Campus) in 1978 to serve the population. After only a few years, the school was sold and it eventually became the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy state magnet school. Foxcroft is located west of Edgelawn and north of Indian Trail Road.
Frontenac Far East Side
Georgetown Far East Side The neighborhood is just east of Copley Hospital, and just west of Fox Valley Mall. This subdivision includes an elementary school, and a couple of parks, including baseball fields.
Lakeside Sans Souci Far West Side A continuation of Sans Souci. It was built in the 1980s and 1990s. West of Orchard Road. This community suffered heavy damage in the 1996 flood.
Little Italy West Side Neighborhood once mainly populated by Italian immigrants south of downtown on the west side, near South Lake Street and West Jericho Road. The neighborhood was once home to many manufacturing jobs.
Near East Side East Side One of the oldest neighborhood of Aurora. This neighborhood is located between Downtown and Uptown. There are several large older homes, some dating back to the 1870s.
Near West Side West Side A neighborhood on the west side of downtown. It has similar architecture and age to the near east side.
Newport Hill West Side Located near Aurora University area.
Marywood Northeast Side Originally called Big Woods, Marywood was settled in the late 1800s by immigrants from Luxombourg. The name was changed to Marywood to show their devotion to Mary the mother of Jesus and is the location of Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church, in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockford. The community is on the north east side on Church Road just south of I-88. The neighborhood once had its own volunteer fire department which responded to calls for service in the unincorporated areas of the neighborhood. The fire department is now defunct with fire service provided by the Aurora Fire Department; however, the old fire house still stands at the intersection of Church Rd. and Schomer Rd. and is currently used as the Marywood Community Center. Approx 1/2 of the neighborhood is unincorporated and therefore not part of the City of Aurora; however, all residents in the area have an Aurora mailing address. Police service in the unincorporated areas of the neighborhood is provided by the Kane County Sheriff's Office.
Pigeon Hill East Side The former neighborhood where Romanian and other eastern European immigrants once flocked to in the late 1800s. This neighborhood is located just east of the Fox River, north of Indian Creek.
Riddle Highlands West Side Located on the West Side, off of North Lake Street and West Illinois Ave. It's a very charming section of the city, with large, older homes dating back to the early 1900s. The Northgate Shopping Center is located on its eastern boundary.
Sans Souci Far West Side An upscale neighborhood built primarily in the 1960s and 1970s. It has long winding streets. Many affluent residents on the West Side live here. Many of the original residents later moved to the even tonier neighborhoods in Sugar Grove, Illinois. It is found northeast of Orchard Road and Prairie Road.
Scraper-Moecherville Southeast Side
Southpark Southeast Side
Sherwood Glen East Side The center of Aurora's strong Hispanic culture. The area was an area just east of downtown, booming with large homes during the first half of the 20th century.


The annual precipitation for Aurora is about 40 inches. The record high for Aurora is 111 °F (44 °C), on July 14, 1936. The record low is −26 °F (−32.2 °C), on January 20, 1985. The average high temperature for Aurora in July is 84 °F (29 °C), the average January low is 10 °F (−12 °C).

On July 17-18, 1996, a major flood struck Aurora, with 16.9 inches (430 mm) of rain in a 24 hour period, which is an Illinois state record, and the second highest ever nationally. Flooding occurred in almost every low lying area, and in the Fox River valley. The flooding was just as bad in Blackberry Creek, on Aurora's far west side.

Aurora has not been struck by any major tornadoes in recent history, although they occur in the area annually. The city can still receive heavy snowfall and experiences blizzards periodically.

Aurora was hit with one of the strongest earthquakes ever to strike Illinois on May 26, 1909. It put cracks through chimneys and could be felt 500,000 sq mi (1,300,000 km2) around.

In 1906, a tornado went through the Aurora Driving Park, a large recreation/amusement park and race track located where Riddle Highlands now stands. The tornado hit during the afternoon performance of the Ringling Brothers "Greatest Show on Earth" circus, when the park was crowded. It killed 2 people and injured 22, but the grandstand was still filled for the evening performance.


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1850 1,200
1870 11,162
1880 11,873 6.4%
1890 19,688 65.8%
1900 24,147 22.6%
1910 29,800 23.4%
1920 36,300 21.8%
1930 46,589 28.3%
1940 47,200 1.3%
1950 50,600 7.2%
1960 63,715 25.9%
1970 74,200 16.5%
1980 81,293 9.6%
1990 99,581 22.5%
2000 142,990 43.6%
Est. 2008 171,782 20.1%

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 142,990 people, 46,489 households, and 34,215 families residing in the city. The average number of residents to one household is 3.6 residents. The population density was 3,711.5 inhabitants per square mile (1,433.0 /km2). There were 48,797 housing units at an average density of 1,266.6 per square mile (489.0 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 51.07% White, 19.06% African American, 0.36% Native American, 3.06% Asian American, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 14.52% from other races, and 2.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 46.56% of the population.[9]

There were 46,489 households, out of which 44.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.5% were married couples living together, 12.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.4% were non-families. 20.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.04 and the average family size was 3.55.

In the city, the population was spread out with 31.7% under the age of 18, 10.2% from 18 to 24, 35.9% from 25 to 44, 15.9% from 45 to 64, and 6.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29 years. For every 100 females, there were 101.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $54,861, and the median income for a family was $61,113. Males had a median income of $41,429 versus $30,150 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,131. About 6.2% of families and 8.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.9% of those under age 18 and 7.3% of those age 65 or over.


Aurora is on the edge of the Illinois Technology and Research Corridor. The city has a long tradition of manufacturing as does much of Chicago metropolitan area. Prominent manufacturers, past and present, included: Lyon Workspace Products, The Aurora Silverplate Manufacturing Company, Barber Greene Ltd., the Chicago Corset Company, the Aurora Brewing Company, Stephens-Adamson Company, Caterpillar Inc., Allsteel Metals, National Metalwares, and Western Wheeled Scraper Works (later Austin-Western Inc.). The most prominent employer and industry was the Chicago Burlington and Quincy Railroad (later Burlington Northern) which was headquartered in Aurora. The CB&Q Roundhouse is still standing, and is now the popular restaurant Walter Payton's Roundhouse.


Formed in 1987, the Aurora Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (AACVB) is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to aggressively promoting and marketing the area as a premier overnight destination. The goal of the AACVB is to enhance the economic and environmental well-being of a region comprising ten communities: Aurora, Batavia, Big Rock, Hinckley, Montgomery, North Aurora, Plano, Sandwich, Sugar Grove, and Yorkville.

Arts and culture

Aurora's downtown is full of architectural landmarks and historic places. A non-profit organization, Sri Venkateswara Swami Temple of Greater Chicago, is a major Hindu temple. Aurora also has its own zoo, Phillips Park Zoo.

Downtown Aurora

The Paramount Theatre under renovation, downtown Aurora.

Downtown Aurora is home to the Paramount Theatre, a large live performance theater on the National Register of Historic Places, and the Hollywood Casino. There is also the Leland Tower, a former hotel which was the tallest building in Illinois outside the Chicago city limits and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The largest collection of George Grant Elmslie (Prairie architect - studied under Louis Sullivan) commercial buildings is located here. Also located downtown is the main building of Aurora Public Library and a branch campus of Waubonsee Community College. Downtown Alive, a festival that includes live music and a variety of food booths, is held on three weekends (Friday and Saturday night) in the summer; Blues on the Fox (featuring national blues artists) is held on the Friday and Saturday of Father's Day weekend. Roughly 8,000–13,000 people attend. The quarterly AuroraArtWalk is hosted by the Cultural Creatives—a grassroots team of local artist, property owners, patrons and the City of Aurora. The Riverfront Playhouse is a not-for-profit theater that has held a storefront location in downtown Aurora since 1978.[10]



Aurora has a rich history of entertainment. There were several theaters in the downtown area and several large community parks with baseball stadiums, circus acts, and race tracks. Some of the more popular were:

Theater Opened Closed Notes
Coulter Opera House 1874 1899 This was Aurora's first major Playhouse/Opera House/Theater. The building is still standing today as the Fifth Third Bank, formerly Merchants Bank, in downtown.
Evans Grand Opera House 1891 1915
Aurora Coliseum / Fox Theater 1900 1915 Changed Name to Fox Theater in 1910. Condemned by the city in 1930.
Bijou Theater / Star Theater 1901 1930
The Strand Theater 1915 1929 Burned down in 1929.
Coliseum Theater 1923 1951 Eighteen city blocks from the original Aurora Coliseum. Was converted into apartments and shops after 1951.
Sylvandell Dance Hall / Rialto Theater 1915 1928 Changed its name to the Rialto Theater in 1919. This was the most popular theater in Aurora at the time, but it unfortunately burned down in 1928. It was nicknamed the "Million Dollar Fire" because of the large amount of money the owners Frank Thielen and Jules J. Rubens spent converting the Dance hall to a top quality theater. It even had a bowling alley in the basement. The Paramount stands on the Rialto's former site.
Tivoli Theater 1928 1981 Demolished soon after closing. Was one of the more popular Aurora Theaters of all time and gave competition to the Paramount theater. Also had a bowling alley.
Paramount Theatre 1931 The longest lived Aurora Theater. Was built on the site of the old Rialto Theater. Went under a complete renovation in the 1970s and later in the 2000s.
New Fox Theater 1935 1978 A third theater in Aurora for several decades. Is closed now, but the building still stands. The building has been incorporated into the Paramount since 2006.
Isle Theater 1938 1982 A smaller theater next to the Leland Hotel, was demolished in 1982 and now is a park.

Commemorative street names

Street name Location
Blues Alley Stolp Avenue between Galena Boulevard and Downer Place
Dr. William Bonner Avenue Pond Avenue changed to Bonner Avenue
D. Lloyd A. Hall Avenue Beach Street between Claim Street and Delius Street
Vernon Louis Parrington Drive White Avenue between Hartford Avenue and Terry Avenue
Reverent Oliver Shackleford Jr. Way Sumner Avenue between New York Street and Grand Boulevard
Reverend Robert Wesby Avenue SLincoln Avenue between New York Street and Galena Boulevard
Marie Wilkinson Boulevard View Street between Illinois Avenue and Plum Street
Rich Ebbey Way White Avenue between Terry and Hartford

Popular culture

  • Wayne's World (1992) was about two men, Wayne Campbell (Mike Myers), and Garth Algar (Dana Carvey) who lived in Aurora. The characters emerged from the television show Saturday Night Live; one of the original authors of the skit was from neighboring Naperville, Illinois, and thought Aurora had the appropriate blue-collar feel desired for the characters. This underlined a long rivalry between tony Naperville and the more modest Aurora. Though most of the movie was filmed elsewhere, there are at least one or two bits that were filmed on location in Aurora,[11] most notably the scene in which a White Castle is shown.
  • Prison Break, a Fox Broadcasting Company TV show has several references about Aurora, sometimes multiple times in an episode, as the show is filmed in the area.
  • Recently, former Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher used Aurora in an anti-casino ad in his unsuccessful re-election campaign. Governor Fletcher referred to Aurora as a good town gone bad, because of the casino. Contrary to the ad, the casino helped revitalize Aurora after the industrial recession of the 1980s.
  • The 1986 film Let's Get Harry used some establishing shots of the New York Street Memorial Bridge.
  • The 2002 Film Children on Their Birthdays was filmed in a large Victorian-era home on Aurora's West side, although the story is supposed to have taken place in Alabama.
  • President George W. Bush was the second sitting president to visit Aurora, Illinois on July 7, 2006. The first was Theodore Roosevelt in 1904.[12]
  • Summer 2007: LaSalle St. is used as downtown Uniontown, Pennsylvania for the movie "The Express".
  • Johnny Depp filmed a scene from one of his movies Public Enemies at Aurora's downtown Paramount Theater.


Aurora was once home to the Aurora Islanders/Blues/Foxes, a minor league baseball franchise that played from 1910-1915 in the Illinois-Wisconsin League. Their most famous player was Casey Stengel, who played one season with the team before being bought by the Brooklyn Dodgers. Stengel batted .352 and was the batting champion of the league for 1911, and also led the league with 50 stolen bases and had 27 outfield assists. The team played in a stadium on the west side in the former Riverview Park.

Waubonsie Valley High School (IPSD - District 204) Soccer has won the Northern Illinois regional championship in this highly competitive region, for both boys and girls, almost every year since 1987. In 2007, the Waubonsie Valley High School girl's team won the state championship and went on to achieve the #1 ranking of all high school girl's soccer teams in the United States, finishing with an undefeated season. Aurora has numerous youth soccer clubs, most of which have teams represented in the top five percent of the Northern Illinois Soccer League. Numerous youth soccer players from Aurora have been awarded college scholarships to major college soccer programs throughout the U.S. In addition to this legacy of success in soccer, Aurora maintains several developmental advantages for soccer enthusiasts. Three high quality indoor soccer venues allow for year-round soccer training and competition for children and adults. Additionally, several area traveling soccer clubs, as well as high schools, boast coaches and trainers who have played soccer professionally or have been starting players for national teams from various countries. Some even played for teams that won the World Cup. Supplementing the local soccer training regimen are professional soccer trainers from England, Brazil, The Netherlands, Scotland, and various other countries. Several of these trainers played in the English Premier League for the Brazil National Team, and for the Argentine National Team.

Fastpitch softball has been in Aurora since World War II and gained popularity in 1950 when the Aurora Sealmasters finished fifth in the nation. The Sealmasters went on to win National Championships in 1959, 1961, 1965 and 1967 and World Championships in 1966 and 1968. There were many different and competitive men's leagues in Aurora from the 1960s through the mid 1990's. There are still a few leagues and teams playing to this day.

Stonebridge Country Club, on Aurora's far northeast side was home to the LPGA Keebler-Kellogg classic from 2002-2004. Stonebridge was also a course in the 1991-1995 Men's Senior PGA tour.

Aurora University has Men's and Women's Basketball, Golf, Tennis, Track and Field and Cross Country. It also has a men's football and baseball team, as well as women's softball and volleyball teams. Aurora University athletics are division III.

High school athletics are a major event in the city, as East and West Aurora High Schools have been rivals in all sports for over 100 years.



The city is the final stop of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe line of the Metra commuter rail system, allowing rail service into Chicago. The city also has a stop at the Rt. 59 station on the BNSF Line. This station is located on the border with Naperville and each city maintains a parking lot on their respective sides of the tracks. PACE operates local bus service within Aurora six days a week (no service on Sundays) and serves other cities such as Naperville, Geneva, Batavia, Oswego, and St. Charles. Along with Metra trains and PACE buses, Greyhound buses also stop at the Aurora Transportation Center. Aurora does not currently have a stop for Amtrak trains, as the old station where they did stop closed in the 1980s. Aurora City Lines, the old city bus lines, was closed in the late 1980s, in favor of regional bus service. Aurora also used to have an extensive streetcar system, operated by the Aurora, Elgin and Fox River Electric Company, that served most neighborhoods. Additionally, Aurora was served by a number of interurban lines. The most prominent of these was the Chicago Aurora and Elgin Railroad which provided service into Chicago.

The Aurora Municipal Airport is a general aviation airport located in Sugar Grove, IL just outside of Aurora, Illinois. Although the airport is located within Sugar Grove, it is owned and operated by the City of Aurora. The Aurora Airport is designed as a reliever airport for Chicago's O'Hare and Midway Airports, and also handles a lot of international cargo. It is capable of landing Boeing 757 aircraft.


Aurora currently has two hospitals, one on the west side, Provena Mercy Medical Center, and one in Fox Valley, Rush-Copley Medical Center.

There are other area hospitals, including Edward Hospital in Naperville, Delnor Hospital in Geneva, Central DuPage in Winfield and a Level 1 Trauma center at Good Samaritan in Downers Grove.

Aurora at one point had three hospitals, St. Joseph Hospital, on the west side, St. Charles hospital, in uptown, and Copley Memorial Hospital, on the east side. St Joseph and St, Charles hospitals have been converted into living centers, and the old Copley hospital, which was one of the largest hospitals in the area, sits vacant. The city of Aurora recently demolished the old smokestacks from the hospital, as they were starting to crumble and fall down.

Dreyer Medical Clinic and several other independent clinics and medical groups are spread throughout the city. The area surrounding Provena Mercy has evolved into a diverse healthcare district with services and offices.


The city is the location of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA) and Aurora University. According to the census of Aurora's population over the age of twenty-five, 26% hold a bachelor's degree.

Two main school systems have served the Kane County core location of Aurora since the 1860s, one on either side of the Fox River, which physically divides the city. In addition, the far eastern portion of Aurora within DuPage County, has been served by Indian Prairie School District (IPSD) 204, since that district's formation in 1972. All three districts (Aurora Public Schools: West Side (District 129), Aurora Public Schools: East Side (District 131) and IPSD) have their headquarters and administrative offices within the Aurora city limits. As of 2005, there will be no less than forty public schools within Aurora city limits, serving residents of Aurora and neighboring communities.

Due to the sheer size of the city of Aurora, these are not the only three school systems serving residents - some students in the far north end of the city (north of I88 in Kane County) attend Batavia public schools, some on the far southwest side attend Kaneland CUSD 302 schools (headquartered in Maple Park), and some students in the far south end of the city (a small corner of the Kane, Kendall and Will County portions) attend Oswego public schools. Four of the schools in Oswego CUSD 308, Wheatlands Elementary, Homestead Elementary, Wolf's Crossing Elementary, and Bednarcik Junior High, are located within Aurora's city limits.

The Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA) is a state-funded residential magnet school for grades 10 to 12. While IMSA operates under public funds (and uses the site originally designated West Aurora High School North Campus), it is managed independently of the other public schools in the city of Aurora. Any Illinois student who meets admission requirements may apply to attend IMSA, tuition free.

Aurora is also home to a few other private schools. Within Aurora, there are three Roman Catholic High Schools, Aurora Central Catholic (Diocese of Rockford), Rosary, and Marmion Academy (Order of St. Benedict), and 7 Catholic elementary schools operated by the Diocese of Rockford. Along with these three schools is Aurora Christian High School and Elementary School.

The above-named districts have forty-six public schools within the city limits of Aurora (seventeen for District #131, thirteen for District #129, eleven for District #204, four for Oswego District #308 and the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy). Aurora is also home to twenty-two private schools including Rasmussen College, two branches of Waubonsee Community College, and the main campus of Aurora University.


The Aurora Public Library includes the main library, two branches, a support facility and a bookmobile. The current library operations budget is $10 million and the staff numbers 85 full-time and 89 part-time employees.[13]


In addition to the Chicago broadcast stations, the following are based in Aurora:




The Beacon News is Aurora's oldest business, first published in 1846, and is part of the Sun-Times Media Group. The newspaper has two editions: the Aurora edition and the Kendall County edition. The Beacon-News has been recognized repeatedly by the Associated Press, Illinois Press Association, Northern Illinois Newspaper Association and the Chicago Headline Club as one of the best daily newspapers in Illinois.[14]

Crime and social issues

In 2008, reported major crimes in Aurora were at their lowest level in nearly three decades.[15][16] The Chief of Police attributed the drop to a number of factors but especially credited the hard work of the city's police officers and the increase in anti-gang priorities. Gang violence had reached a high in the 1990s, with the city averaging nearly 30 murders per year.[15][16] In 2008, Aurora only had 2 murders.[15][16] In July 2007, the Aurora Police Department and the FBI conducted "Operation First Degree Burn," a sweep that resulted in the successful arrest of 31 alleged Latin kings gang members suspected of 22 murders dating back to the mid-1990s.[17] Aurora has also adopted programs such as CeaseFire to reduce gang violence and prevent youths from joining gangs.

Environmentally, Aurora has long dealt with pollution of the Fox River. The river was heavily polluted up until the 1970s by factories that had lined the river for over a century. Cleanup efforts have been successful with the help of state grants[18] and volunteer effort.

Notable residents

Culture and the arts



Society and social sciences


  • James H. Monroe (1944 – 1967), combat medic in the Vietnam War and recipient of the Medal of Honor
  • Walter E. Truemper (1918 – 1944), member of the U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II and recipient of the Medal of Honor
  • Lester W. Weber (1948 – 1969), U.S. Marine and recipient of the Medal of Honor for heroism in Vietnam

Politics and law


  • Nathaniel Popp (b. 1940), archbishop of the Orthodox Church in America Romanian Episcopate
  • Vasile Louis Puscas (b. 1915), bishop emeritus of the Romanian Catholic Eparchy of St George's in Canton
  • Alexander Raţiu (1916 – 2002), Romanian Greek-Catholic priest, political prisoner and author


Goddess of Victory statue on Memorial Bridge, built c. 1931. In background is entrance to Hollywood Casino, c. 1993.  
Stolp Island with Leland Tower from New York St. Bridge. Detail of Memorial Bridge figure Memory.  
View of Stolp Island historic buildings from Downer Place with architectural details, such as these terracotta tiles.  
The main branch of the Aurora Public Library, remodelled c. 1969.  
The Old Aurora Post Office, now home to the SciTech Museum.  
Detail of unusual Mayan revival motif on the old Elk's Building, currently housing the Aurora Election Commission.  
The carousel and food court at Westfield Fox Valley, opened 1975.  
Statue outside of Aurora (Metra).  


  1. ^ a b c "Aurora city, Illinois - Population Finder". American FactFinder. United States Census Bureau. 2010. Retrieved 24 February 2010. 
  2. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographical Names Information System: City of Aurora
  3. ^ "Welcome". Aurora Economic Development Commission. 2010. Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c Fun Aurora Facts-Aurora Historical Society
  5. ^ a b c Encyclopedia of Chicago
  6. ^ Lahmeyer, Jan (2003). "Historical demographical data of the urban centers: Illinois". Retrieved 24 February 2010. 
  7. ^ "Population of Kane County (1850-1900)". Kane County, Illinois Genealogy Trails. 2010. Retrieved 24 February 2010. 
  8. ^ "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. 11 January 2010. Retrieved 24 February 2010. 
  9. ^ Aurora Demographics
  10. ^ Riverfront Playhouse Official Site
  11. ^ Wayne's World (1992) - Filming locations
  12. ^ 95.9 The River. Scott Childers. WERV-FM, IL. 07-July-2006.
  13. ^ Aurora Public Library
  14. ^ "About The Beacon-News". Sun-Times Media Group. 2010. Retrieved 2010-1-30. 
  15. ^ a b c Working, Russell (2008-12-30). "Aurora murders at lowest level since 1987". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
  16. ^ a b c "Aurora On Track For Another Crime Decline". Official website. City of Aurora, IL. 2009-12-30. Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
  17. ^ Kimberly, James (2007-6-29). "31 indicted in 22 Aurora-area gang killings". Chicago Tribune. AccessMyLibrary. Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
  18. ^ "Microsoft Word - river edge-au" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-09-14. 


External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

AURORA, a city of Kane county, Illinois, U.S.A., in the N.E. part of the state, on the Fox river, about 37 m. W. of Chicago. Pop. (1890) 19,688; (1900) 24,147, of whom 5075 were foreign-born; (1910) 29,807. Aurora is served by the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, the Chicago & North-Western, the EIgin, Joliet & Eastern, and the Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota railways, and is connected with Chicago by an electric line. The city has a soldiers' memorial hall, erected by popular subscription, and a Carnegie library. Aurora is an important manufacturing centre; among its manufactures are railway cars - the shops of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railway being 927 here - flour and cotton, carriages, hardware specialties, corsets, suspenders, stoves and silver-plate. In 1905 the city's factory products were valued at $7,329,028, an increase of 30% in 5 years. The municipality owns and operates the water-works and electriclighting plants. The first settlement in the vicinity of Aurora was made in 1834. In 1845 the village of East Aurora was incorporated, and West Aurora was incorporated nine years later. In 1853 the two villages were united under a city charter, which was superseded by a revised charter in 1887.

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Simple English

City of Aurora
—  City  —
Country United States
State Illinois
Counties Kane, DuPage, Kendall and Will
Townships Aurora, Naperville, Wheatland, Sugar Grove, Batavia, Winfield, Oswego
Founded 1835
 - Mayor Tom Weisner
 - Total 39.4 sq mi (102.1 km2)
 - Land 38.5 sq mi (99.8 km2)
 - Water 0.9 sq mi (2.3 km2)
Elevation 577 –735 ft (176 m - 224 (203) m)
Population (2008 est.)
 - Total 171,782
 Density 3,711.2/sq mi (1,432.9/km2)
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)

Aurora is a city of Illinois in the United States.

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