Aurora City History

Written by Ila Shepherd- The first group of pioneers came to Aurora on March 9, 1875. The town was originally called "Willowbend" because the settlers formed their houses along a big bend of the Sevier River. They were governed by LDS Church authority until 1914, when the need for a better culinary water system made it necessary that the town be incorporated. It was at that time the town changed their name to "Aurora". They elected Abraham Shaw as the first mayor with Marion Cloward, Hans Jensen, and Parley Sorenson as board members. Other officers were Edwin Sorensen, clerk; Ezra Mason, Sr. Treasurer, and Ezra Stevens Marshall.

The story of our water system is rather dramatic, with the struggle to increase the supply. In the Sring of 1915 the water was piped into Aurora . In 1932 the Wash Spring was added and in 1945 another spring was connected to the main line from Denmark Wash. A well was drilled in 1950 by Gardner Drilling Company. This well was drilled at the top of the Aurora City Cemetery, by June of 1953 lawns were planted and a sprinkling system was installed at the cemetery which adds so much to the beauty of the place.

The first amusement hall was built in 1906, a neat framed building seated with opera chairs. The first organ owned by Aurora Ward was placed in this new building. Everyone was thrilled, for now we had a place for meetings and amusements. It was enjoyed until 1910 when it burned to the ground. All that was saved was the organ and a few chairs. Within a few months the people then built a beautiful brick building. At this time there was a local dramatic company which put on plays each winter. The first winter they had three or four productions and with the money they made, they purchased electric lights in the new amusement hall. They next winter they installed two big pot bellied stoves at both ends of the hall. Men would into the west hills and bring in a wagon load of wood for the hall. Coal was scarce.

The first school house was built of split logs in 1879 just east of the Rocky Ford Canal. It had but one room and was used for gatherings. Maggie Keeler was the first teacher. The first three trustees were William Harward, Beason Lewis and Ernest Shepherd. In 1903 the first telephone was installed. In 1912 electricity was installed. In 1925 Aurora celebrated its' fifty year anniversary with a program at the city park, a beef barbeque at noon and that night a dance for everyone at the amusement hall.

In 1933 a new ward chapel was built and was dedicated in 1935. In 1947 the old amusement hall was torn down and a new recreation hall was built onto the ward chapel. In this new hall there was a large reception room, modern kitchen, ladies lounge and a town board room. The city park had a fine baseball diamond and grandstand with lights for night playing. There were tennis courts and two large fireplaces with picnic tables for celebrations.

George Timothy Holdaway was the first man to come to Aurora and stay on March 9, 1875. Jabez Durfee was the first bishop ordained on Feb. 27, 1881. Numan Van Louven gave bonds as the first postmaster Feb 11, 1881. Delbert Curtis was the first child born in Aurora about 1876. Earnest Shepherd opened the first store in one room of his home in 1879. The first canal was the Rocky Ford Canal, dug in 1875. Abraham Shaw was the first town President elected in November of 1914. The first piped water came from Friday Springs in 1915. The first marshall was Ezra Stevens. The first school teacher was Maggie Keeler. The first marriage was Geroge Timothy Holdaway and Deseret E. Holdaway on December 25, 1877 by Bishop Ezra Curtis. The first grave in the cemetery was a small child of Erastus and Sarah Durfee. He had drowned in the Sevier River.