History of Aurora
Aurora started in the 1880 as a town called Fletcher, named after a businessman from Denver who staked out some parts of land east of his hometown. After the Silver Crash in 1893, the town was impoverished and its founder fled the community, leaving it with a large debt. Fletcher was incorporated in 1903 and in 1907, residents decided to change the name of the town to Aurora. The town grew very slowly but steadily, remaining in the shadow of Denver, until the 1970s, when it entered a period of unprecedented growth and became one of the fastest-growing American cities.
Aurora was long perceived as one of the larger Denver suburbs, and to some extent it still is. The city’s area at one point surpassed that of Denver, although most of its area is undeveloped and the city lacks a traditional central business district. Aurora has only a few notable skyscrapers and it is mostly suburban.
The city’s growth was partially owed to the military presence. Fitzsimons Army Hospital opened in 1918, Lowry Air Force Base opened in 1938 and Buckley Air Force Base was built in 1942. Aurora was in the center of world attention in 1955 when President Eisenhower recovered from a heart attack in the Fitzsimons Army Hospital.
Aurora pays a lot of attention to local sports and recreational opportunities, which is why in 2004 Sports Illustrated named it the best “Sportstown” in Colorado.
In 2012, Aurora was again in the center of international attention after a mass shooting at the midnight screening of the movie “Dark Knight Rises” in a local theatre, in which 12 people were killed and 58 were injured.
Geography and Climate
The city occupies an area of 142.7 square miles, most of which is land. Its official elevation is 5,471 feet, although the highest elevation is 6,229 feet.
The climate in Aurora is semi-arid, with four distinct seasons. Summers are mild to very hot and winters are mild to bitter cold. The city gets plenty of snowfall in the winter.
Population of Aurora
At the 2010 U.S. Census, Aurora had a population of 325,078. The racial makeup was 47.3% non-Hispanic White, 28.7% Hispanic or Latino, 15.7% Black or African American, 4.9% Asian, 1% Native American, 0.3% Pacific Islander, 11.6% some other race and 5.2% two or more races. Mexicans are the most populous group among the Hispanics, and other, smaller communities are Salvadoran, Puerto Rican, Guatemalan, Honduran, Peruvian and Cuban.
The median household income in 2010 was $46,507 and the per capita income was $21,095. About 8.9% of the population were below the poverty line.
The largest public employers in Aurora are Buckley Air Force Base, Anschutz Medical Campus, University of Colorado Hospital, Aurora Public Schools, Cherry Creek Schools, City of Aurora and Community College of Aurora.
As for the private employers, the top ten include The Children’s Hospital, Raytheon Company, Kaiser Permanente, ADT Security Services, HealthOne Colorado-The Medical Center of Aurora, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Staples, Beverage Distributors, Co. and Advantage Security, Inc.
Aurora has over 1,800 acres of park land and 6,000 acres of open spaces and natural areas. It also has a number of golf courses, both public and private ones, such as Blackstone Country Club, John F. Kennedy Golf Course and Valley Country Club, which are very popular among the residents of the nearby areas. Some of the most popular natural areas include Star K Ranch, which hosts the Morrison Nature Center, Aurora Reservoir, Quincy Reservoir and Jewell Wetland.
Attractions and Culture
One of the major attractions is the DeLaney Farm, which hosts a historic round barn, two buildings on the National Register of Historic Places and an organic garden. Other notable historic sites and landmarks in the city include the KOA Building, the Centennial House, the Gully Homestead, American War Mothers National Memorial Home and Lowry Building 800.
The city is also home to the Aurora History Museum and the Aurora Symphony orchestra.
Institutions of higher education in the city include Columbia College-Aurora, Regis University, University of Colorado Denver-Anschutz Medical Campus, Community College of Aurora, Pickens Technical College, Anthem College, Platt College and Concord Career College.
Major highways in Aurora area are I-70, I-225 and E-470 beltway. The city is served by a light rail transit system and by buses. The nearest airport is Denver International Airport, which is in fact closer and more convenient to Aurora than to Denver itself.