Aurora, Illinois

Coordinates: 41°45′50″N 88°17′24″W / 41.76389°N 88.29000°W / 41.76389; -88.29000
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Aurora, Illinois
Flag of Aurora, Illinois
Official seal of Aurora, Illinois
Official logo of Aurora, Illinois
Nickname: 
City of Lights
Motto: 
A City Second to None
Location of Aurora in DuPage and Kane Counties, Illinois.
Location of Aurora in DuPage and Kane Counties, Illinois.
Aurora is located in Chicago metropolitan area
Aurora
Aurora
Aurora is located in Illinois
Aurora
Aurora
Aurora is located in the United States
Aurora
Aurora
Coordinates: 41°45′50″N 88°17′24″W / 41.76389°N 88.29000°W / 41.76389; -88.29000
CountryUnited States
StateIllinois
CountiesDuPage, Kane, Kendall, Will
TownshipsAurora (Kane), Batavia (Kane), Sugar Grove (Kane), Naperville (DuPage), Winfield (DuPage), Oswego (Kendall), Wheatland (Will)
Settled1834; 190 years ago (1834)
Incorporated (village)1845; 179 years ago (1845)
Incorporated (city)1857; 167 years ago (1857)
Founded byHarold E. Styles
Government
 • TypeMayor–council
 • MayorRichard Irvin (R)[1]
Area
 • Total45.91 sq mi (118.91 km2)
 • Land44.97 sq mi (116.47 km2)
 • Water0.94 sq mi (2.45 km2)
Elevation719 ft (219 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total180,542
 • RankUS: 144th
 • Density4,014.81/sq mi (1,550.13/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP Codes
60502–60507, 60568, 60569, 60572, 60598
Area codes630, 331
FIPS code17-03012
GNIS feature ID2394031[3]
DemonymAuroran
Wikimedia CommonsAurora, Illinois
Websitewww.aurora-il.org

Aurora is a city in the Chicago metropolitan area. Located primarily in DuPage and Kane Counties, it is the second-most populous city in Illinois, after Chicago,[4] and the 144th-most populous city in the United States.[5] The population was 180,542 at the 2020 census.[6]

Founded within Kane County, Aurora's city limits have expanded into DuPage, Kendall, and Will counties. Once a mid-sized manufacturing city, Aurora has grown since the 1960s. From 2000 to 2009, the U.S. Census Bureau ranked the city as the 46th-fastest-growing city with a population of over 100,000.[7]

In 1908, Aurora adopted the nickname "City of Lights", because in 1881 it was one of the first cities in the United States to implement an all-electric street lighting system.[8] Aurora's historic downtown is located on the Fox River, and centered on Stolp Island. The city is divided into three regions, the West Side, on the west side of the Fox River, the East Side, between the eastern bank of the Fox River and the Kane/DuPage County line, and the Far East Side/Fox Valley, which is from the County Line to the city's eastern border with Naperville.

The Aurora area has some significant architecture, including structures by Frank Lloyd Wright, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Bruce Goff and George Grant Elmslie. Aurora is also home to over 50 Sears Catalog Homes and seven Lustron all-steel homes. The Hollywood Casino Aurora, a dockside gaming facility with 53,000 square feet (4,900 m2) and 1,200 gaming positions, is located along the river in downtown Aurora.

History[edit]

Before European 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 settled on both sides of the river, but subsequently sold their land on the west side to the Lake brothers, who opened a mill. The McCartys lived on and operated a mill on the east side.[9] Aurora was established with the building of a post office in 1837.

Aurora began as two villages: East Aurora, incorporated in 1845[10] on the east side of the river, and West Aurora, formally organized on the west side of the river in 1854.[10] In 1857, the two towns joined, incorporating as the city of Aurora.[11] Representatives could not agree which side of the river should house the public buildings, so most of them were built on or around Stolp Island in the middle of the river.

As the city grew, it attracted numerous factories and jobs. In 1849, after failing to attract the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad building west from Chicago, the Aurora Branch Railroad was chartered to build a connection from Aurora to the G&CU at a place called Turner Junction, now West Chicago. Additional lines were built, including a direct line to Chicago, and in 1855 the company was reorganized into the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad.[12][13] The CB&Q located its roundhouse and locomotive shop in Aurora, becoming the town's largest employer until the 1960s. Restructuring in the railroad industry resulted in a loss of jobs as passenger traffic dropped and the number of railroads decreased. The Burlington Railroad ran regularly scheduled passenger trains to Chicago.[14] Other railroads built lines to Aurora, including the Chicago & Northwestern Railway to Geneva,[15] the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway to Joliet,[16] Chicago, Milwaukee & Gary to Rockford,[17] and the interurbans Chicago Aurora and Elgin Railroad, Aurora, Elgin and Fox River Electric Company, Chicago, Aurora and DeKalb Railroad, and Aurora, Plainfield and Joliet Railroad. With the exception of the EJ&E main line on the east side of the city, all lines other than the former Burlington lines have been abandoned.

The heavy industries on the East side provided employment for generations of European immigrants, who came from Ireland, Great Britain, Scandinavia, Luxembourg, Germany, France, Romania and Italy. Aurora became the economic center of the Fox Valley region. The combination of these three factors—a highly industrialized town, a sizable river that divided it, and the Burlington railroad's shops—accounted for much of the dynamics of Aurora's political, economic, and social history. The city openly supported abolitionism before the American Civil War. Mexican migrants began arriving after the Mexican Revolution of 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 here and the city established a high school for girls in 1855.

The city developed as a manufacturing powerhouse which lasted until the early 1970s, when the railroad shops closed. Many other factories and industrial areas relocated or went out of business. By 1980, there were few industrial areas operating in the city, and unemployment soared to 16%.[9] During the late 1970s and early 1980s, development began in the Far East side along the Eola Road and Route 59 areas. This was financially beneficial to the city, but it sapped retail businesses downtown and manufacturing in the industrial sectors of the near East and West Sides, weakening them. In the mid-1980s crime rates soared and street gangs formed.

During this time Aurora became much more ethnically diverse. The Latino population grew rapidly in the city during the 1980s. In the late 1980s, several business and industrial parks were established on the city's outskirts. In 1993, the Hollywood 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 and towns outside Aurora. Subdivisions sprouted up around the city, and Aurora's population soared.

Today, Aurora is an ethnically diverse city of nearly 200,000 residents. Historic areas downtown are being redeveloped, and new developments are being built across the city.

Geography[edit]

The Phillips Park 'Sunken Garden'

Aurora is at 41°45′50″N 88°17′24″W / 41.76389°N 88.29000°W / 41.76389; -88.29000 (41.7637855, −88.2901352).[3]

According to the 2021 census gazetteer files, Aurora has a total area of 45.91 square miles (118.91 km2), of which 44.97 square miles (116.47 km2) (or 97.94%) is land and 0.94 square miles (2.43 km2) (or 2.06%) is water.[18]

While the city has traditionally been regarded as being in Kane County, Aurora also includes parts of DuPage, Kendall and Will counties. Aurora is one of only three cities in Illinois what span four counties the others being Barrington Hills and Centralia.)

Regions of Aurora[edit]

Politically, the city is divided into 10 wards.[19] Large portions of Aurora can be described as being within three regions:

  • The West Side, which is west of the Fox River.
  • The East Side, which spans the region east of the Fox River, stopping at the DuPage County line.
  • The Far East Side, a portion of Aurora east of the DuPage County line

These three regions are partly depicted in police boundaries and school districts.[20][21][22]

Climate[edit]

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 −31 °F (−35 °C), on January 16, 2009.[23] The average high temperature for Aurora in July is 83.5 °F (28.6 °C), the average January low is 12.6 °F (−10.8 °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 in the city, and in neighborhoods bordering the Fox River, causing major damage in some neighborhoods. 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 Northern Illinois annually. In 1906, a tornado went through the Aurora Driving Park[citation needed], a large recreation/amusement park and race track where the Riddle Highlands neighborhood and Northgate shopping center is today. 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. Weak tornadoes struck the city in 1954, 1958, 1960, and 1991. In 1990, the supercell thunderstorm that produced the deadly Plainfield Tornado passed over the city, dropping golf ball sized hail and causing wind damage. Less than ten minutes after passing through Aurora, the storm produced an F5 tornado, which touched down in nearby Oswego, less than 5 miles from downtown. The tornado then traveled through Plainfield and Joliet, killing 29 people.

The city can receive heavy snowfall and experiences blizzards periodically.

Aurora was hit with one of the strongest earthquakes ever to strike Illinois, a M 5.1, on May 26, 1909[citation needed]. It put cracks through chimneys and could be felt 500,000 sq mi (1,300,000 km2) around.

Climate data for Downtown Aurora, Illinois (1991–2020 normals, extremes 1887–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 70
(21)
72
(22)
84
(29)
92
(33)
104
(40)
106
(41)
111
(44)
105
(41)
103
(39)
93
(34)
81
(27)
70
(21)
111
(44)
Mean daily maximum °F (°C) 30.5
(−0.8)
34.9
(1.6)
47.0
(8.3)
59.8
(15.4)
71.1
(21.7)
80.5
(26.9)
84.0
(28.9)
82.1
(27.8)
75.8
(24.3)
62.8
(17.1)
47.8
(8.8)
35.6
(2.0)
59.3
(15.2)
Daily mean °F (°C) 23.2
(−4.9)
27.2
(−2.7)
37.9
(3.3)
49.6
(9.8)
60.6
(15.9)
70.3
(21.3)
74.4
(23.6)
72.6
(22.6)
65.5
(18.6)
53.0
(11.7)
39.7
(4.3)
28.7
(−1.8)
50.2
(10.1)
Mean daily minimum °F (°C) 16.0
(−8.9)
19.5
(−6.9)
28.9
(−1.7)
39.3
(4.1)
50.1
(10.1)
60.1
(15.6)
64.8
(18.2)
63.1
(17.3)
53.3
(11.8)
43.1
(6.2)
31.7
(−0.2)
21.8
(−5.7)
41.1
(5.1)
Record low °F (°C) −26
(−32)
−25
(−32)
−15
(−26)
8
(−13)
21
(−6)
32
(0)
40
(4)
37
(3)
24
(−4)
11
(−12)
−11
(−24)
−25
(−32)
−26
(−32)
Average precipitation inches (mm) 1.86
(47)
1.83
(46)
2.35
(60)
4.05
(103)
4.86
(123)
4.50
(114)
4.19
(106)
3.86
(98)
3.37
(86)
3.70
(94)
2.71
(69)
2.19
(56)
39.47
(1,003)
Average snowfall inches (cm) 9.1
(23)
7.9
(20)
2.6
(6.6)
0.6
(1.5)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
1.3
(3.3)
6.4
(16)
27.9
(71)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 9.0 7.9 9.7 11.7 12.6 11.1 9.1 9.1 8.4 9.3 8.7 9.3 115.9
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 5.6 4.2 1.9 0.4 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.0 4.0 17.1
Source: NOAA[24][25]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
CensusPop.Note
18501,200
18606,011400.9%
187011,16285.7%
188011,8736.4%
189019,68865.8%
190024,14722.6%
191029,80023.4%
192036,30021.8%
193046,58928.3%
194047,2001.3%
195050,6007.2%
196063,71525.9%
197074,20016.5%
198081,2939.6%
199099,58122.5%
2000142,99043.6%
2010197,89938.4%
2020180,542−8.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[26]
[27][28] 2010[29] 2020[30]

As of the 2020 census[31] there were 180,542 people, 65,128 households, and 47,579 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,932.26 inhabitants per square mile (1,518.25/km2). There were 62,763 housing units at an average density of 1,367.00 per square mile (527.80/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 40.63% White, 10.87% African American, 1.65% Native American, 10.97% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 20.73% from other races, and 15.11% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 41.53% of the population.

There were 65,128 households, out of which 43.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.31% were married couples living together, 14.65% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.95% were non-families. 21.39% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.71% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.56 and the average family size was 3.03.

The city's age distribution consisted of 28.2% under the age of 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 29% from 25 to 44, 23.2% from 45 to 64, and 9.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34.4 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $74,659, and the median income for a family was $83,464. Males had a median income of $43,680 versus $30,572 for females. The per capita income for the city was $32,537. About 8.3% of families and 10.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.7% of those under age 18 and 9.9% of those age 65 or over.

Aurora city, Illinois – Racial and ethnic composition
Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos may be of any race.
Race / Ethnicity (NH = Non-Hispanic) Pop 2000[32] Pop 2010[29] Pop 2020[30] % 2000 % 2010 % 2020
White alone (NH) 74,457 78,924 61,017 52.07% 39.88% 33.80%
Black or African American alone (NH) 15,389 20,348 18,930 10.76% 10.28% 10.49%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 186 246 207 0.13% 0.12% 0.11%
Asian alone (NH) 4,313 13,105 19,659 3.02% 6.62% 10.89%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) 28 53 61 0.02% 0.03% 0.03%
Other race alone (NH) 153 301 655 0.11% 0.15% 0.36%
Mixed race or Multiracial (NH) 1,907 3,113 5,032 1.33% 1.57% 2.79%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 46,557 81,809 74,981 32.56% 41.34% 41.53%
Total 142,990 197,899 180,542 100.00% 100.00% 100.00%

Economy[edit]

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 include Lyon Workspace Products, The Aurora Silverplate Manufacturing Company, Barber-Greene Company, the Chicago Corset Company, the Aurora Brewing Company, Stephens-Adamson Company, Caterpillar Inc., Western Electric, 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 originally called Walter Payton's Roundhouse; after the Payton estate ended its involvement in 2009 it became known as America's Historic Roundhouse, and after a 2011 change in ownership, it is now known as Two Brothers Roundhouse.

Tourism[edit]

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 AACVB'S goal is to enhance the economic and environmental well-being of a region comprising ten communities: Aurora, Batavia, Big Rock, Hinckley, Montgomery, North Aurora, Oswego, Plano, Sugar Grove, and Yorkville.

Largest employers[edit]

According to the city's 2019 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[33] the city's largest employers are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Rush Copley Medical Center 2,200
2 West Aurora Public School District 129 1,650
3 East Aurora Public School District 131 1,320
4 Amita Health Mercy Medical Center 1,300
5 City of Aurora 1,280
6 Dreyer Medical Clinic 1,200
7 Indian Prairie School District 204 1,200
8 Caterpillar Inc. 1,100
9 Hollywood Casino Aurora 1,010
10 MetLife, Inc. 800

Arts and culture[edit]

Aurora's downtown is full of architectural landmarks and historic places. It includes a major Hindu temple, the Sri Venkateswara Swami Temple of Greater Chicago. Aurora also has its own zoo, Phillips Park Zoo, in Phillips Park.

Downtown Aurora[edit]

Downtown Aurora
The Paramount Theatre, 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 of Chicago and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The largest collection of commercial buildings by Prairie School architect George Grant Elmslie is here. The main building of Aurora Public Library and a branch campus of Waubonsee Community College are also located downtown.

The Riverfront Playhouse is a not-for-profit theater that has held a storefront location in downtown Aurora since 1978.[34]

A fixture of Downtown Aurora, the Waubonsee Community College Campus, which was formerly located on Stolp Island near the Paramount Theatre, closed in May 2011. A new and greatly expanded campus was built on the western banks of the river, between the river and IL Route 31.[35] The construction of the campus was part of a larger plan to redevelop the Downtown area, putting in parks and new walking paths, and making the area more inviting. The plan also included a pedestrian bridge to connect the banks of the river. Also in the works is a plan to modify or reconstruct the bridges to Stolp Island, which have not been maintained for nearly 60 years.

Museums[edit]

Commemorative street names[edit]

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

Popular culture[edit]

Sports[edit]

The Aurora Islanders/Blues/Foxes, a minor league baseball franchise, played from 1910 to 1915 in the Wisconsin-Illinois 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; he 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. He became known as a manager of baseball teams.

Waubonsie Valley High School (IPSD—District 204) Boys Soccer has won the Northern Illinois regional championship in this highly competitive region 21 times since 1987, and WVHS Girls Soccer has won the regional championship 19 times in that time frame. In 2007, the Waubonsie Valley High School girls' team won the state championship; it was ranked #1 of all high school girls' soccer teams in the United States after 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. Several youth soccer players from Aurora have received college scholarships to major college soccer programs throughout the U.S. In addition, Aurora maintains several developmental advantages for soccer enthusiasts. Three high-quality indoor soccer venues allow 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. Some 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 other countries. Several played in the Premier League and for the Brazil national team, and for the Argentina national team.

Fastpitch softball has been in Aurora since the 1930s. It gained popularity after World War II when the Aurora Sealmasters Men's team finished fifth in the nation in 1950. The Sealmasters won National Championships in 1959, 1961, 1965, and 1967, and World Championships in 1966 and 1968. The Sealmasters played their games at Stevens-Adamson Field, a significant fastpitch stadium on Ridgeway Avenue on the city's southwest side. The Sealmasters hosted many famous competitors from all over the United States, most notably Eddie Feigner and The King and His Court, as well as international opponents. There were many different and competitive men's leagues in Aurora from the 1960s through the mid-1990s. There are still a few leagues and teams playing to this day.

In golf, the Stonebridge Country Club, on Aurora's far northeast side, was home to the LPGA Tour's Kellogg-Keebler Classic from 2002 to 2004. Stonebridge also hosted the Ameritech Senior Open from 1991 to 1995 on the Senior PGA Tour.

Aurora University has Men's and Women's basketball, golf, tennis, track and field and cross country, men's and women's lacrosse. It also has a men's football and baseball team, as well as women's softball and volleyball teams. Aurora University athletics are in 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.

Infrastructure[edit]

Transportation[edit]

Aurora has long been a regional transportation hub. Aurora's transportation system connects its residents and visitors to neighboring towns and cities. The city is served by several major roadways, including Interstate 88 and Illinois Route 59, making it easily accessible by car. Additionally, Aurora offers various public transportation options, including two Metra commuter stops, Pace Bus services, and an expanding bicycle network.

Train service[edit]

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 on the border with Naperville and each city maintains a parking lot on their respective side of the tracks. The BNSF Railway owns and maintains a rail yard in Aurora, which they named Eola Yard.

Bus service[edit]

Pace Suburban Bus operates local bus service in Aurora six days a week (no service on Sundays) and connects to cities and village such as Naperville, Geneva, Batavia, Oswego, and St. Charles. Pace Bus offers 6 fixed-route bus connections at the Aurora Transportation Center.[37] The City of Aurora also has two Pace On Demand service zones allowing riders to reserve a trip to anywhere within one of the On Demand Zones.[38] Aurora residents within Kane County are eligible to participate in the Ride in Kane transportation program, providing curb to curb bus or taxi service to individuals 65 and older, individuals with a disability, and those with low income.[39]

Aviation[edit]

The Aurora Municipal Airport is a general aviation airport in Sugar Grove, Illinois, just outside Aurora. Although the airport is in 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. In addition, the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Chicago Air Route Traffic Control Center is on Aurora's west side.

Bike network[edit]

Aurora aims to be a bicycle-friendly community and promotes bicycling throughout the city. To create a more bike-friendly downtown, in July 2020, the City of Aurora partnered with Koloni to launch its new Fox Valley Bike Share program.[40] The city has also invested in bike infrastructure improvement projects, further expanding the network of bike lanes and multi-use paths. The completion of a bridge in 2021 over the Fox River in Aurora provides a safe and direct route for bicyclists and pedestrians from the Aurora Transportation Center to the Fox River Trail.[41]

Historic transit[edit]

Aurora does not have a stop for Amtrak trains, as the old station closed in the 1980s. The closest Amtrak station is in Naperville. Aurora City Lines, the old city bus lines, was closed in the late 1980s in favor of regional bus service. Greyhound buses used to stop at the Aurora Transportation Center, but service was discontinued on September 7, 2011.[42] Aurora also had an extensive streetcar system, operated by the Aurora, Elgin and Fox River Electric Company, that served most neighborhoods. Aurora was served by a number of interurban lines, the most prominent of which was the Chicago Aurora and Elgin Railroad which provided service into Chicago. The STAR Line would have included a third station at Ferry Rd. north of the BNSF Line.

Major highways[edit]

Major highways in Aurora include:

Healthcare[edit]

Rush–Copley Medical Center

Aurora has two hospitals, one on the west side, Ascension 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 had three hospitals, St. Joseph Hospital, on the west side, St. Charles hospital, east of downtown, and Copley Memorial Hospital, on the east side. All three have been converted into senior living centers.

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

Education[edit]

The city is home to Aurora University, two branches of Waubonsee Community College, and a branch of Rasmussen College. According to the census of Aurora's population over the age of twenty-five, 26% hold a bachelor's degree.

Starting in the 1860s, Aurora was served by two main school systems, one on either side of the Fox River, which physically divides the city. In the mid-20th century, the district on the western side of the river expanded to include the students in the village of North Aurora, including the North Aurorans on the east side of the Fox. Additionally, in 1972, the Indian Prairie School District (IPSD) 204 was formed to serve the far eastern portion of Aurora within DuPage County. 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 were at least forty public schools within Aurora city limits, serving residents of Aurora and neighboring communities.

Due to the city's size, 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 within Aurora's 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 Aurora's other public schools. Any Illinois student who meets admission requirements may apply to attend IMSA, tuition free.

Aurora is also home to 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 seven Catholic elementary schools operated by the Diocese of Rockford. Along with these three schools is Aurora Christian High School and Elementary School and Resurrection Lutheran School,[43] a Pre-K-8 grade school of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. Aurora is also home to Fox Valley Montessori School, one of the first Montessori schools established in Illinois in 1969, which offers a preschool and elementary program.

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).

Library[edit]

The Aurora Public Library includes the main library, two branches, an express center, a support facility and a bookmobile. The library operations budget is $10 million and the staff numbers 85 full-time and 89 part-time employees. The library was funded in 1901 through a Carnegie grant. The Santori Public Library, the main library, was opened in June 2015, and offers a 3D printer and a digital media lab in addition to standard book and media services.[44]

Notable people[edit]

Media[edit]

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

Television[edit]

Radio[edit]

Newspapers[edit]

The Beacon-News is Aurora's oldest business, first published in 1846, and is part of the Tribune Publishing. 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.[45]

Crime and social issues[edit]

In 2008, reported major crimes in Aurora were at their lowest level in nearly three decades.[46][47] 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.[46][47] In 2008, Aurora only had 2 murders.[46][47] 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.[48] Aurora has also adopted programs such as CeaseFire to reduce gang violence and prevent youths from joining gangs. Aurora had 7 murders in 2016.[49]

Like other large Midwestern cities that once relied on manufacturing as an economic basis, Aurora has a large number of abandoned buildings and vacant lots, especially in older sections of the city. Efforts are ongoing to rehabilitate these areas.

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 and volunteer efforts.[50]

2014 Chicago Air Route Traffic Control Center fire[edit]

On September 26, 2014, a fire at an air traffic control edifice in Aurora (also known as the "Chicago Center") caused nearly 2000 airline flights to be grounded.[51][52][53][54]

Brian Howard, an employee of Harris Corporation, was charged in the incident.[55][56][57]

2019 shooting[edit]

At approximately 1:30 p.m. on February 15, 2019, police responded to an active shooter situation in west Aurora to find that 45-year-old Gary Martin had opened fire on fellow employees at the Henry Pratt Company after being terminated from the company. Five officers and several civilians were injured in the ensuing standoff, after which police entered the building and killed Martin. In total, the incident left six dead (including the gunman) and numerous others wounded. It was the first major shooting in the town's history.[58]

Local sights[edit]

Sister cities[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mayor Richard C. Invin". City of Aurora. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  2. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 15, 2022.
  3. ^ a b c U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Aurora, Illinois
  4. ^ "Demographics". Seize the Future. 2014. Archived from the original on September 17, 2014. Retrieved September 15, 2014.
  5. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places of 50,000 or More, Ranked by July 1, 2013 Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2013". U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. May 2014. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved September 15, 2014.
  6. ^ "Aurora city, Illinois". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  7. ^ "Table 1. Annual Estimates of the Population of Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012 (CBSA-EST2012-01)". U.S. Census Bureau. June 2013. Archived from the original (CSV) on April 1, 2013. Retrieved June 5, 2013.
  8. ^ Following Cleveland, Ohio, and Wabash, Indiana."About Our City". City of Aurora, IL. 2011. Archived from the original on July 29, 2012. Retrieved September 25, 2011.
  9. ^ a b "Aurora, IL". www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org. Archived from the original on December 10, 2008. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  10. ^ a b Torp, K. "History of Aurora, Illinois". genealogytrails.com. Archived from the original on July 9, 2012. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  11. ^ "Aurora Township, Kane County, Illinois". Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois. Kane County Illinois Genealogy Trails. Archived from the original on July 9, 2012. Retrieved September 24, 2011.
  12. ^ An act granting a charter to the Aurora Branch Railroad Company, approved February 12, 1849
  13. ^ Interstate Commerce Commission (1927), Valuation Docket No. 715: Chicago Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company, vol. 134 I.C.C., p. 1
  14. ^ The Burlington Railroad operated passenger trains between Chicago and Aurora for over 100 years, since Aurora was an important suburb. See "Chicago-Aurora Centennial, 1864–1964" (Burlington Railroad, 1964).
  15. ^ "Aurora to Geneva, IL". AbandonedRails.com. Retrieved November 28, 2021.
  16. ^ "The Aurora Branch". AbandonedRails.com. Retrieved November 28, 2021.
  17. ^ "The Gary Line". AbandonedRails.com. Retrieved November 28, 2021.
  18. ^ "Gazetteer Files". Census.gov. Retrieved June 29, 2022.
  19. ^ "City of Aurora 2013 Ward Map" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on June 26, 2014. Retrieved February 26, 2014.
  20. ^ "Aurora Police Area / District Map". aurora-il.org. August 3, 2010. Retrieved May 3, 2021.
  21. ^ "Aurora School Districts". aurora-il.org. July 8, 2014. Retrieved May 3, 2021.
  22. ^ "About Aurora | Aurora, IL". www.aurora-il.org. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  23. ^ "January 16, 2009: Cold Air Outbreak". www.weather.gov. US Department of Commerce NOAA. January 16, 2009.
  24. ^ "NowData – NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved July 11, 2021.
  25. ^ "Station: Aurora, IL". U.S. Climate Normals 2020: U.S. Monthly Climate Normals (1991-2020). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved July 11, 2021.
  26. ^ "Decennial Census of Population and Housing by Decades". United States Census Bureau.
  27. ^ Lahmeyer, Jan (2003). "Historical demographical data of the urban centers: Illinois". Populstat.info. Archived from the original on September 8, 2008. Retrieved February 24, 2010.
  28. ^ "Population of Kane County (1850–1900)". Kane County, Illinois Genealogy Trails. 2010. Archived from the original on July 13, 2012. Retrieved February 24, 2010.
  29. ^ a b "P2: Hispanic or Latino, and Not Hispanic or Latino by Race – 2010: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) – Aurora city, Illinois". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 26, 2024.
  30. ^ a b "P2: Hispanic or Latino, and Not Hispanic or Latino by Race – 2020: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) – Aurora city, Illinois". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 26, 2024.
  31. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved June 28, 2022.
  32. ^ "P004: Hispanic or Latino, and Not Hispanic or Latino by Race – 2000: DEC Summary File 1 – Aurora city, Illinois". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 26, 2024.
  33. ^ "City of Aurora CAFR". aurora-il.org. Retrieved May 5, 2021.
  34. ^ Riverfront Playhouse Archived 2003-04-14 at the Wayback Machine Official Site
  35. ^ "History | Waubonsee Community College". www.waubonsee.edu. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  36. ^ "Wayne's World (1992)". Archived from the original on May 25, 2016. Retrieved May 2, 2018 – via www.imdb.com.
  37. ^ "Aurora Transportation Center | Pace Suburban Bus". www.pacebus.com. Retrieved March 3, 2023.
  38. ^ "Pace On Demand | Pace Suburban Bus". www.pacebus.com. Retrieved March 3, 2023.
  39. ^ "Home". kdot.countyofkane.org. Retrieved March 3, 2023.
  40. ^ "KOLONI - Aurora Bike Share | Aurora, IL". www.aurora-il.org. Retrieved March 3, 2023.
  41. ^ "New pedestrian and bike bridge over Fox River opens in downtown Aurora". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 3, 2023.
  42. ^ "Greyhound drops Dixon from service". saukvalley.com. Archived from the original on February 1, 2014. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  43. ^ "Resurrection Lutheran Church & School".
  44. ^ "Santori Public Library". santorilibrary.com. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  45. ^ "About The Beacon-News". Sun-Times Media Group. 2010. Archived from the original on May 27, 2010. Retrieved January 30, 2010.
  46. ^ a b c Working, Russell (December 30, 2008). "Aurora murders at lowest level since 1987". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on April 21, 2012. Retrieved January 30, 2010.
  47. ^ a b c "Aurora On Track For Another Crime Decline". Official website. City of Aurora, IL. December 30, 2009. Archived from the original on July 20, 2011. Retrieved January 30, 2010.
  48. ^ Kimberly, James (June 29, 2007). "31 indicted in 22 Aurora-area gang killings". Chicago Tribune. AccessMyLibrary. Retrieved January 30, 2010.
  49. ^ "Crime in Aurora, Illinois (IL): murders, rapes, robberies, assaults, burglaries, thefts, auto thefts, arson, law enforcement employees, police officers, crime map". www.city-data.com. Retrieved October 4, 2018.
  50. ^ "Illinois EPA Director presents $300,000 grant to Mayor of Aurora for watershed protection efforts". Illinois Government News Network. State of Illinois. April 23, 2007. Archived from the original on April 2, 2012. Retrieved September 25, 2011.
  51. ^ "Man faces charges in FAA facility fire - CNN.com". CNN. September 26, 2014. Archived from the original on September 27, 2014. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
  52. ^ "FBI: Contract worker set fire at FAA center, tried to kill himself". chicagotribune.com. September 26, 2014. Archived from the original on September 26, 2014. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
  53. ^ "Chicago air traffic halted over fire at FAA facility". CBS News. September 26, 2014. Archived from the original on September 26, 2014. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
  54. ^ Aamer Madhani; Ben Mutzabaugh; William Spain & USA TODAY (September 26, 2014). "Chicago flights grounded after fire at FAA radar facility". USA Today. Archived from the original on September 26, 2014. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
  55. ^ "Chicago-area air traffic center fire grounds 1,750 flights". Yahoo News. September 26, 2014. Archived from the original on September 27, 2014. Retrieved September 27, 2014.,
  56. ^ "Fire at air-traffic center disrupts 1,800 flights". Yahoo News. September 27, 2014. Archived from the original on September 26, 2014. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
  57. ^ "Contract Employee Charged in Fire That Grounded Chicago Flights". ABC News. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
  58. ^ Romo, Vanessa (February 15, 2019). "Gunman Kills 5, Wounds At Least 5 More At Industrial Facility In Aurora, Ill". NPR.org. Retrieved January 19, 2020.
  59. ^ "Iguala será nombrada ciudad hermana de Aurora". Diario 21 (in Spanish). Archived from the original on January 29, 2018. Retrieved May 2, 2018.

External links[edit]