On May 9, 1870 a Congregational minister and former Union officer, Stephen G. Elliott and his wife, Anna, acknowledged before J.W. Rinker, a notary public, the plat of a new town to be called Aurora on 40 acres of the farm he had bought from John C. McNatt after the close of the Civil War. He did so as part of an agreement with Andrew Pierce, Jr. president of the Frisco railroad, by which half the lots in the new town was the price for a depot to be located within it when the railroad came through.
In 1880 there were two general stores, a drug store, two grocers, four blacksmiths, tow wagon makers, a physician and four preachers with four churches.
One day in November 1885 was probably the single most important day in Aurora’s first hundred years. On that day, workman digging a well ran into rock, set a charge of powder and blew up great chunks of pure galena ore. A company was formed to mine it; it seemed as if shallow lead was to be found almost anywhere around Aurora. Other discoveries followed one upon another. Then came businessmen doing business out of tents or back of a wagon until something better could be built.
In 1886 Aurora was incorporated with Carr McNatt the first Mayor. When the first city hall was built is not certain, but it was probably just a few years after incorporation, perhaps in 1891.
The coming of the railroad in 1872, the discovery of pure galena ore, lead and zinc in 1885 and the newspaper in 1899 marked the late 1800’s in Aurora history. The newspaper, The Aurora Advertiser has survived to this day.
The first large industry, Majestic Milling, came to Aurora in August 1905. The MFA Milling Company expanded the operation into one of the largest feed mills in the world. The giant grain elevators stand today as a tribute to the historical significance of the mills operation and a welcome to visitors entering Aurora from the north along the Ozark Mountain Parkway.
Patriotism has swelled the hearts of Aurorans through the decades. Company M, 2nd Missouri Infantry of Aurora was called into action for World War I on August 5, 1917. While waiting to be shipped overseas, the Aurora infantrymen befriended a stray hound dog that eventually traveled overseas with them. The dog returned to Aurora with the group and the “Houn Dawg ” became the official town mascot.
Today, Aurora is known as “The Summit City of the Ozarks”. Located on a high plateau (1,434 ft. above sea level) in the state’s southwest corner from which one can gradually descend into the Ozark Mountains. As one of the oldest mountain ranges in the United States, the Ozark Mountains retains its wilderness character, rugged, diverse and always delightful. This beauty surrounds Aurora.
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