Aurora is a city in Lawrence County, Missouri, United States. The population was 7,508 at the 2010 census. It was estimated to be 7,447 by the City of Aurora as of July 1, 2019.The Honey Creek area, near Aurora was originally settled by pioneers from Tennessee, including James D. Hillhouse, E. B. Hillhouse, Reverend A. A. Young, James Barrow and James Gibson. They were later instrumental in founding Aurora. Their descendants include actor Brad Pitt and novelist and national security analyst Raelynn Hillhouse. Aurora was platted in 1870 by Stephen G. Elliott. It was reportedly named after Aurora, the Roman goddess of dawn.Galena ore was discovered in 1885 while digging a well on the farm of Thomas D. Liles in November, marking the beginning of Aurora as a mining town.
Mining of surface outcrops began in 1886. Large scale commercial mining began shortly afterwards as the mines grew deeper and zinc and galena were discovered. The zinc from the Aurora mines was of exceptional purity and high grade. By 1893, 12,651 tons of zinc ore were mined and shipped from Aurora. The mines attracted prospectors and miners. Aurora’s population peaked at 10,000 circa 1900. The Frisco Railroad (now Burlington Northern-Santa Fe) and the Missouri Pacific (now Union Pacific) previously had depots in Aurora. The train master for the Missouri Pacific Railroad’s White River division was headquartered in Aurora until the mid-1950s.
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