Aurora, the "Dawning" of a City
The first family to venture into the remote regions of the Western Reserve to the area that would come to be called Aurora was the family of Ebenezer Sheldon. The year was 1799. Sheldon and his family came from Westfield, Connecticut. Soon other pioneer families made the arduous journey to Ohio, leaving behind the comforts of New England. By 1807 the settlement of Aurora had grown and prospered necessitating the need to form a village government. The first elected officials were Samuel Forward, Phineas Perkins, and Ebenezer Sheldon. As trustees of the village their primary duties were to provide the upkeep of local roads and schools, provide for the care of the “poor” and to collect funds for support of both the county and state. (Aurora - from the founding to the flood, Volume One, 1799-1913, Aurora Historical Society, 1999, pg. 62-63)
As the area grew in population the numerous small townships fell politically under the auspices of their county governments. Aurora remained a township until greater political independence could be achieved through the process of incorporation. In 1928, the central portion of Aurora was incorporated into what became known as Aurora Village, often referred to historically as “Aurora Station” and “Aurora Center.” Lee Gould was elected mayor. (“Aurora,” Hettinger, George, Portage History, The Portage County Historical Society, 1957, pg. 281) The outlying regions, including the community of “Geauga Lake,” remained a township under the local direction of trustees and commissioners at the county level. Geographically the community remained politically divided, village and township, until the “Aurora Township” was officially annexed by the “Aurora Village” in 1958.
In the spring of 1966 a 9-man committee was established by the Aurora Village Council to study “city status.” In favor of achieving city status was the Board of Education which had determined that it would be more cost effective to administer certain services that were being provided by the county. After a lengthy study and making sure that Aurora met all the requirements, Aurora was officially granted the status of “City” on March 20, 1971. (Listening Post, March, 1966, page 20)