This Month in Aurora History: June

“Theodore Roosevelt Day,” June 3, 1903

June 3, 1903, was a day of great fanfare and celebration as President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt visited Aurora.  Roosevelt was closing out a 2-month western tour in which he visited 22 states and territories.  His 2-hour Aurora stop included lunching at the home of his friend, Senator Albert J. Hopkins of Aurora, leading a grand parade of fifty horse-drawn carriages through the mobbed thoroughfares of town, and a speech at Lincoln (now McCarty) Park.  After his speech, Roosevelt was carried by train to his next stop, Joliet, the fifth of twelve Illinois cities visited.

A few other June happenings in Aurora History

June 1867 — The Colored Baptist Church of Aurora is established.  Aurora’s second African-American congregation, the church still exists today as the Main Baptist Church.

June 1, 1882 — The Aurora Public Library, established by City ordinance one year earlier, opens in the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) building on Stolp Island.  That building would house the library until it moved to a new home at Stolp and Benton in 1904.

June 8, 1835 — The first lumber is sawn at the newly-constructed McCarty sawmill on the east bank of the Fox River, in the center of what would become downtown Aurora.

June 12, 1837 — Joseph J. Stolp, a 25-year-old from Marcellus, New York, arrives in the small village of Aurora.  He would start Aurora’s first major industry, the Aurora Woolen Mills, and become one of Aurora’s most prominent early settlers.  The island in the middle of downtown Aurora still bears his name.

June 17, 1993 — Riverboat gaming comes to Aurora as the Hollywood Casino-Aurora officially opens.  When opened, the casino featured two floating riverboats docked at its facility on the north edge of Stolp Island, off the New York Street Bridge.