Aurora is the second-largest city in Illinois, approximately 40 miles due west of Chicago, with a population of about 200,000. With four historic districts, Aurora boasts one of the largest collections of historic architecture in the Midwest. Nicknamed the City of Lights, it was one of the first U.S. cities to acquire all-electric street lighting in 1881.
Situated on the banks of the Fox River, Aurora, IL, was originally a Native American settlement. In 1834, land on the east and west banks was acquired by the McCarty brothers who sold the western parcel to the Lake Brothers. The McCartys built a mill on the east side, while the Lake Brothers built a mill on the west side. Originally there were two towns; East Aurora and West Aurora, but they incorporated in 1857. Because the settlers could not decide where to construct the public buildings, they erected them on Stolp Island in the center of the Fox River.
Factories were built on both sides of the river, creating jobs that drew many European and Mexican immigrants. With the establishment of its roundhouse and locomotive shop in Aurora in 1856, the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad become a major local employer. Aurora remained an industrial center until 1970, when numerous factories and businesses relocated or went out of business.
By the 1980s, the downtown area had declined and became a haven for local gangs. In the 1990s, the Hollywood Casino opened its doors in downtown Aurora, and redevelopment of the area began. Today, Stolp Island is the center of historic downtown.
The Hollywood Casino
This riverboat casino, situated on the Fox River, has been entertaining guests for over 20 years. The casino is known for "art deco elegance with hokey Hollywood glitz," and its purpose was three-fold: to help revitalize downtown, increase city revenues and create new jobs. The 53,000 square-foot facility offers slots, poker, blackjack, mini baccarat, roulette, craps, live music on the gaming floor and a buffet, deli and steakhouse. The Hollywood Casino Aurora was Aurora's first step toward making downtown a cultural and entertainment center.
RiverEdge Park is an outdoor entertainment venue on the east bank of the Fox River. Launched in June, 2013 with the Blues On The Fox Festival, the staging area has room for up to 10,500 attendees. Future RiverEdge Park events will showcase a variety of entertainers from local performing artists to national music acts.
The historic Art Deco Paramount Theater originally opened in 1931, was restored in the 1970s, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. Located on Stolp Island, it has been the venue for many concerts, comedy shows, films and plays over the years. It has the distinction of being the first air-conditioned building outside of Chicago. Notable past performers include Burns and Allen, The Marx Brothers and Jack Benny.
Aurora, IL, has an extreme climate. Summer temps are hot and humid while winters can be brutally cold. When it comes to winter heating Aurora, IL, homeowners need a reliable furnace that's always in good repair. Affordable and experienced HVAC Aurora, IL, contractors can be hard to find, but with Comfort24-7, you can easily locate Factory Authorized HVAC Contractors in your neighborhood. Serving Chicago, Northwest Indiana and Southwest Michigan with same-day and 24/7 emergency service, our heating and air conditioning contractors employ NATE-Certified technicians with the skill and expertise to keep you comfortable year-round.