Aurora Illinois Industrial Evolution

From 1850 to 1900 several developments in Aurora combined as the catalyst that would fuel an industrial rise of a dozen and more large metal fabricating and other firms. This was unique in the Chicago area and beyond.

The Burlington Railroad was founded in Aurora. When they established metal shops and rail yards in Aurora, they attracted skilled workers to settle in Aurora rather than to commute from Aurora to Chicago for work. Skilled immigrants moving valued the open spaces of Aurora as better communities to settle and raise families than large cities like Chicago. And a remarkable group of young entrepreneurs founded or moved companies to Aurora. With less contentious management and labor relations than in big cities in the late 1800's, manufacturing growth and prosperity continued through mid 20th century and beyond in Aurora.

For many who came of age at the peak of Aurora's manufacturing power in the 1950's, it seemed as if it would never change. Perhaps it is only now, as Aurora has recovered to a level of prosperity and community as vibrant as any in our past, that we can comfortably look back. As we do, we can fondly recall those industrial years as well as view the future with pride in all that has been accomplished in the difficult transition from the way we were to what Aurora is becoming in a new century.

We welcome your interest in what has been developed here for your review on Aurora's industrial evolution. As you will see, it is still a story without an end and with large gaps. For that we need your thoughts and views, to help us all to better understand how Aurora of the 1950's became the Aurora we know today. Just as important are your comments and views on the initial perspectives on how Aurora industry rose, grew and evolved as initial assembled here. This input, together with any addition contributions or different interpretations you might have, are always welcome and will be added as appropriate.

On the right you can see the format around which initial information and interpretation has been gathered. You can see those topics without links where we particularly need you to help finish the story as well as help rewrite parts that have been initially drafted. With your interest and contributions, greater insights will be available to all on the way we were, the path to way we are now and perhaps even a bit of what might lie ahead for life in Aurora.

Back to Business History



Catalyst:Early Companies and Resources of 1800's

Success: Profiles of Aurora Industrial firms Dominant through the 1950's

Evolution: Where Did Everyone Go?

Transition: The Phoenix Rises

How We Recall: Personal Reflections and Recollections of Our Times

How We Are Connected: Links of Individuals as Key to Greatness

Economic Firsts and Facts

Your Comments, Corrections, Clarifications, Changes, Additions and Suggestions