The city of Aurora, on the outer edge of the Chicago metropolitan area, is one of the fastest growing communities in the country.
Early on, the city’s growth was fueled by manufacturing as factories and jobs attracted residents. The city’s largest employer, the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad’s roundhouse and locomotive shops, operated here from 1856 up to the early 1970s.
After losing its manufacturing foothold, the city began to revitalize and diversify. The Hollywood Casino was built downtown in 1993, and subdivisions began going up across the city.
Aurora’s historic downtown, located along the Fox River, has several architectural landmarks including the Paramount Theatre, which is on the National Register of Historic Places; and several commercial buildings by George Grant Elmslie, a famed Prairie School architect. The city also is home to a Hindu temple and the Phillips Park Zoo.
Aurora has an impressive collection of structures by renowned architects including Frank Lloyd Wright, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Bruce Goff and Elmslie. The city also has a large collection of historic Sears Catalog Homes and Lustron all-steel homes.
Residents enjoy several city events including Downtown Alive, a festival with live music and food booths; Blues on the Fox with national blues artists and the AuroraArtWalk.
Aurora has a long history as a regional transportation hub. It is the final stop on Metra’s Burlington Northern Santa Fe line. The city also has a stop at the Route 59 station, which borders Naperville.
Aurora is served primarily by three school districts: Aurora Public Schools including West Side District 129; East Side District 131 and Indian Prairie School District 204. There are at least 40 public schools in Aurora serving city residents and students from neighboring communities. In addition, some residents of the sprawling city attend districts in nearby communities.
The state-funded Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, a residential magnet school for grades 10-12 is located here and managed independently. Several private schools serve students in the city as well.