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AURORA, TX (WISE COUNTY)

AURORA, TEXAS (Wise County). Aurora is on State Highway 114 ten miles southeast of Decatur in southeastern Wise County. The site is on a gentle rise and is surrounded by mesquite and live oak trees. Settlement began there in the late 1850s. Impressed by the beauty of the place, William O. Stanfield suggested Aurora for the name of the community. For the first twenty years the population grew rapidly, and the town became a trading center for county farmers. A post office was opened in 1873, and the town was incorporated on August 21, 1882. By the mid-1880s Aurora had two schools, two cotton gins, two hotels, fifteen businesses, and a population variously estimated at between 750 and 3,000. An outbreak of spotted fever began during the latter part of 1888, and by 1889 fear of the epidemic had caused a mass exodus from the town. Two years later, when the Fort Worth and Denver City Railroad abandoned its plan to lay tracks through Aurora, most of the few remaining inhabitants moved to Rhome, two miles to the southeast, the new site of a railroad stop. Ironically, as its decline continued, the town became the focus of the state's attention. On April 18, 1897, S. E. Hayden, an Aurora cotton buyer, wrote a story describing the crash of a mysterious airship just outside of town. Hayden's fictional article was apparently an attempt to bring attention to the community, but it caused a sensation because stories were already current of unidentified flying objects near Fort Worth. Hayden's tale, however, failed to revive Aurora. In 1901 postal service was discontinued. The construction of State Highway 114 through Aurora in 1939 probably saved the community from extinction. In the early 1970s Aurora underwent a rebirth as the town became a bedroom community of Fort Worth. In 1986 it had an estimated 376 residents. In 1990 the population was 623, and in 2000 it was 853.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Rosalie Gregg, ed., Wise County History (Vol. 1, n.p: Nortex, 1975; Vol. 2, Austin: Eakin, 1982). Wise County Messenger, Centennial Edition, October 4, 1956.

David Minor

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

David Minor, "AURORA, TX (WISE COUNTY)," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hla29), accessed July 13, 2014. Uploaded on June 9, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.