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Missing papers, depot fires and East-West games

New poster designed by Neal Ormond IV for 175th anniversary (2012) Aurora. | AurorHistorical Society

New poster designed by Neal Ormond IV for the 175th anniversary (2012) of Aurora. | Aurora Historical Society

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Updated: October 25, 2012 6:01AM

Aurora is hosting numerous events to celebrate its 175th birthday this year. This Sunday at the Aurora Historical Society, railroad historian Steve Hyett will talk about the heyday of the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin electric line. More info at To commemorate the anniversary, The Beacon-News is revisiting historical stories. Here’s what Aurorans were talking about this week ...

…in 1862.

The Beacon-News offered apologies for not being able to print its weekly edition for the second time in one year. The Beacon’s publishers said that nearly every man was either sick or absent. On top of that, they did not receive paper from the mill until very late in the week, making it impossible to put the paper out in time.

… in 1912.

Aurorans clapped their hands with glee at news that the Burlington Northern passenger station was on fire at 8 a.m. But their joy was short lived, as firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze, leaving the ancient building mostly intact.

No one was in the building when the fire began, but 1,000 people watched as firefighters battled the blaze. As the fire was extinguished, more than 100 track men, carpenters and wiremen were sent into the still soaked building to retrieve boxes filled with early history of the Burlington railroad.

The Beacon-News reported the building was constructed so long ago, even old residents didn’t know the age. The paper claimed that Ramses himself had redeemed his collection of 117 soap wrappers to get the building. These sort of jokes about the building’s age and disrepair had become a regular part of local minstrel shows. For instance: Recent improvements at the depot included washing the windows now and then, the paper said. Or, having survived the fire, preparations for the building’s 2,700th anniversary were under way.

… in 1962.

A crowd of 6,500 saw the East Aurora Tomcats beat their biggest rival West Aurora Blackhawks 13-0. The key score was a 28-yard zig-zag touchdown jaunt by speedster Jimmy Davis near the end of the second quarter. Although East Aurora only attempted three passes in the entire game, running backs Davis (94 yards) and Dave Ray (52 yards) led the way. Ray White (33 yards) was the leading rusher for West Aurora coach Ken Zimmerman. The win marked the second in a row for the Tomcats over their biggest rival and their 32nd win in 70 meetings.

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