Other Aurora Recollections and Reflections
Most of what I have seen when I've gone back has been the devastated downtown area and for a long while, the barrenness caused by Dutch elm disease. This information gives a much more complete picture of Aurora since I left in 1954
My dad--and his older brother--worked from the day they graduated from high school till the day they retired for the electric company--Western United cum Public Service of Northern Illinois cum Commonwealth Edison. This wasn't quite heavy industry a la the manufacturing companies, but the utilities were major employers that disappeared. My family left Aurora in 1954 when Public Service swallowed up Western United and my dad was transferred to Maywood.
I left Aurora in 1945 and have not resided there since. My reactions also would be tainted by my views as one of blue-collar workers sons. Though I never worked in Aurora, my family and companions of "Pigeon Hill" were or became the staff of the mercantile and industrial organizations. Not many people can say that they sat on the cutting table of two Kaufmann business locations. My aunt would take great umbrage to say she worked in a sweatshop under this gentleman as seamtress.
Aurora was a good town to grow up in and I have fond memories and some relatives still residing there. I will be attending EAST AURORA HIGH SCHOOL RAH! 60th reunion in September and will probably come home with many new stories about the direction of Aurora. Sorry about the exuberant East High but old habits die-hard. Thanks for the memories.
R & M Kaufmann was a locally owned and a leading manufacturer of women's dresses until acquired by Russ Togs in 1969. The Kaufmann family bought the company back from Russ Togs in 1988 and continued operations in Aurora until the early 1990's. The impact of imports on R& M Kaufmann (and the entire apparel industry) as a reason for its demise can not be minimized. Russ Togs liquidated in 1992 and some of its asset were acquired by Liz Claiborne.
McWethy Brothers Insurance was founded in 1869 to sell crop insurance throughout Illinois.
As part of McWethy and Oxie families in Aurora, I worked McWethy Insurance from 1970 to 1992. In 1980 the agency was sold to Willis, where I continued as senior vice president until 1992, when my division was sold. The years when Sandy Weil and McCormick were aggressive with Fireman’s Fund were last of my McWethy years… McWethy Brothers were exclusive agents of Insurance Company of North America for over 100 years and it was a very successful arrangement until Connecticut General took over INA, which represented the end of the road.
Many have come to think of Aurora Country Club as place where business leaders gathered to meet, work and play. I recall time when lunches at Elks Club across from library was the place.
After becoming so successful, it must have been too tempting to do it again, despite none complete provision of sale of first company
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