History of Aurora, Minnesota (through 1922)

The village of Aurora is one of the important incorporated places of the Mesabi range, a trading center for a rich mining section, the principal mines within its sphere being the Stephens, Meadow, Fowler (Meadow), St. James, Miller and Mohawk.

Mining.-Seeing that the mines of the district will for many years be the chief factor in the prosperity of Aurora, and that it, indeed, owes its existence to the operation of those mining properties, it is fitting to review mining history before municipal.

Aurora originally stood near the Meadow mine, and before the location took corporate dignity, as the village of Aurora, it was known as the Meadow location.

Meadow Mine.-The Meadow mine was one of the first to be explored in White township. One account states that it was explored in 1898 by David T. Adams and Neil Mclnnes, but another account credits Marvin Van Buskirk with its discovery. The probability is that Marvin Van Buskirk discovered it, for David T. Adams, with whom he had been associated, in mining explorations, for some years. If it was explored in 1898, it was for many years in an inactive state, for the first shipment was not made until 1910. It is not a large mine, showing a reserve of only about 300,000 tons, and not more than that quantity has yet been taken from it. It is operated by the Cleveland- Cliffs Iron Company.

Fowler Mine.-The Fowler mine adjoins the Meadow, and is operated by the same company. First shipments were in 1907, and, up to the end of 1919, 868,139 tons had been mined.

Aurora Reserve.-Taking the other mines of White township in alphabetic order, instead of in order of importance, the first to refer to is the Aurora Reserve, belonging to the Mesabi Land and Improvement Company (E. J. Longyear and Company). It is situated in section 4, 58-15, and has shown up 458,555 tons of ore. No shipments however have yet been made.

Bennett Reserve.-The Bennett Reserve, section 6, 58-15, owned by the Sargent Land Company, has a proved deposit-of 1,621,697 tons.

No shipments have yet been made.

Donora Mines.-The Donora properties of the’Oliver Iron Mining Company have large deposits. Donora Nos. 1 and 2 Reserve mines have available. more than eight million tons of ore. No shipments have yet been made. The mines are situated in sections 27 and 28 of 59-15.

Hudson Mine.-The Hudson mine, section 4, 58-15, was worked constantly from 1910 to 1918, about 1,300,000 tons having been shipped in those years. It is a Pickands Mather property, but has apparently been worked out.

Miller Mine.-The Miller mine, section 4, 58-15, was explored in the ’90s. Shipments on a large scale began in 1905, in which year 118,520 tons went down to the docks. Up to end of 1919, the mine has yielded 1,365,120 tons, and there is still available a deposit of about two million tons. The property is operated by the Pitt Iron Mining Company.

Mohawk Mine.-The Mohawk mine is another Pickands Mather property, and yielded 2,110,927 tons, to end of 1919, then having a 485reserve of about 600,000 tons. It is situated on section 4, 58-15, and began to ship in 1906.

N. W. I. Reserve.-The Northern Pacific Railway Company owns a small deposit, designated the N. W. I. Reserve, on section 23, 59-15.

Nothing has been shipped yet, but 137,168 tons have been proved.

Oliver Reserve.-On section 5, 58-15, is an Oliver Reserve of 2,739,631 tons. It, of course, is controlled by the Oliver Iron Mining Company. Nothing has yet been shipped.

Perkins Mine.-The Perkins mine, section 26, 59-15, is operated by the Perkins Mining Company, R. M. Sellwood, general manager.

It has shipped 612,893 tons, to end of 1919. The first year of shipment was 1909, when 59,029 tons were mined.

Ray Reserve.-The Ray Reserve, situated on U. S. lot No. 5, section 6, 58-15, shows an available deposit of 3,580,881 tons. It is an Oliver property.

St. James Mine.-The St. James is one of the large mines of the Aurora district. It has a reserve of more than five million tons, and is a property of comparatively recent development, the first ore mined from it being in 1916, in which year 36,066 tons were shipped. Altogether, to end of 1919, 541,956 tons have been mined. The property is operated by the McKinney Steel Company, of Cleveland, the general superintendent being E. D. McNeil, with C. J. Rithier, superintendent.

It is situated on section 3, 58-15.

Stephens Mine.-The Stephens mine, owned by the Oliver Iron Mining Company, promises to be, some day, one of the main sources of employment in White township. There is a proved deposit of more than nineteen million tons of ore on it. It has only been worked two years, 1903 and 1905, and less than half a million tons in all have yet been mined from it. It is situated on section 26, 59-15. On sections 23, 25 and 26 the Oliver Iron Mining Company also own deposits estimated at nearly twenty-three million tons, from which not a ton has been mined. The properties are classed as the Stephens Reserve.

Syracuse Reserve.-The Syracuse Reserve mine, owned by R. M. Bennett, has an available supply of 2,786,024 tons. Nothing has been mined since 1910, and only 7,872 tons altogether. The vicinity is very wet.

Weed Mine.-The Weed mine, section 25, 59-15, was only a small property. It has yielded about 300,000 tons, and has presumably given up all its available deposit. It belongs to the Oliver Company.

The first shipment was in 1915, and the last in 1918.

Future Prosperity of Aurora.-The enormous reserve of ore available in the mines of the Aurora district indicates that the village of Aurora has a stable futurE. The reserve at two, only, of the mines totals to fifty million tons, and the township of White possibly has deposits not yet “shown up” equal to that already proved.

Organization of Village.-The original minute book of the trustees of the village of Aurora begins with an account of the proceedings that led to the incorporation of the mining location, or community, near the Meadow mine. By the way, it appears that the location originally was known as Nolander, which was the name of one of the early engineers of the Duluth and Iron Range Railroad. The trustees’ minute book begins: “Census of sections 3, 4, 9 and 10, 58-15, canvassed and result showed 174 inhabitants in said district on September 19, 1903.

“On September 19, 1903, petition was circulated and signed by thirty qualified electors of the above-described district, and addressed 486to the County Commissioners of St. Louis County, petitioning them to appoint a time and place when and where the electors actually residing on sections 3, 4, 9 and 10, 58-15, St. Louis County, where they might vote for, or against, the incorporation of said district, as a village under the name of Aurora.

“Said petition having been delivered to the County Commissioners of St. Louis County, September 24, 1903, the said commissioners of St. Louis County ordered an election to determine said incorporation to be held on November 25, 1903, at the grocery store of Knuti and Onzala (Anzelo), situated on the site of said proposed village of Aurora.

“Notices of the said election to vote on said proposition to incorporate were, on October 19, 1903, posted in the following five places, within the said territory, to wit: Knuti and Ongala, public store; Leray and Flain, public store; Tom Flaherty, public store; Chas. Young, public store; Post Office; together with copies of above said petition, said notice describing the limits of said proposed village, and the time and place for holding the election for the incorporation.

“The said County Commissioners appointed the following persons to preside and act as inspectors at said meeting, namely: Chas.

Hull, Steve Patrick and Thos. Flaherty.” The first man to sign the petition, which was prepared by Otto A. Poirier, as attorney, was Thomas L. Flaherty. It was approved by the commissioners at their October session.

The election held on November 25, 1903, brought 46 voters to the poll. Thirty-eight votes were in favor of incorporation, and eight against.

First Village Officers.-Election of officers quickly followed, on December 22, 1903. The judges of election were John Hill, C. Olson and F. V. Anderson. The candidates, and votes they received, were: T. L. Flaherty (21 votes), Fred Miller (one vote), for president; Frank Flain (23 votes), M. J. Cummins (17 votes), John Hill (13 votes), Joe Mercier and Steve Patrick (12 votes each), for trustee; George H. Kitto (26 votes), for recorder; Albert Lewis (25 votes), for assessor; Charles R. Hill (23-votes), for treasurer; Chas. Hallsteinson (23 votes), Albert LeRoy (24 votes), Con. Olson (one vote), for justice of peace; Fr. Paquette and Fr. Felonowich (19 votes each), Fred La Burge, Fred Miller and Chas. Gustafson (one vote each), for constable.

First Council Meeting.-The first council meeting was held on January 2, 1904, in the Hotel Northern, lot 10, block 7, of the village.

Village Moved.-Within a year of incorporation it became evident that the location selected for the trading and residential center for the Aurora group of mines was not the best that could have been selected. A mile to the southward would give the village the convenience of the Duluth and Iron Range Railway, which was the only practicable means of transportation. It was therefore well that the village officials early resolved upon a removal. E. J. Longyear platted a new townsite a mile to the southward, and early in 1905 building began upon that site, many of the buildings being moved intact from the old location. Within two years the new town was a well-developed and well-balanced village, with enterprising prosperous business houses, a bank, a newspaper, “a fine school building,” two “excellent church buildings,” Catholic and Methodist, with the Presbyterian denomination “making preparations to build another in the near future.” The village had in that year, 1907, “put in a system of 487waterworks,” and an electric light plant was “soon to be established.” Practically all the lots on the original forty acres platted had been disposed of, and a second “forty” was platted and added to the village in that year. A road to the south was “being constructed by the county, and a bridge built over the St. Louis River” at that time, “so that the farmers of that fertile district might reach the Aurora market.” The village officers in 1907 were: Chas. Olson, president; G. J. Roop, Marcus Levin and John Gersich, trustees; C. G. Vanderpoel, recorder; J. W. Lang, treasurer; B. Christianson and F. O. Adamson, justices; August Knuti, marshal; Chas. F. Nelson, assessor.

Position in 1909.-A review in 1909 stated: “An excellent water and sewer system has been completed, at a cost of $42,000, and there is ample provision for fighting forest fires.

AN EARLY CLASSROOM IN THE AURORA GRADE SCHOOL BUILDING (C. H. GRAHAM, FIRST PRINCIPAL, IN CHARGE) A tank of 50,000 gallons capacity, at an elevation of 110 feet affords 75 pounds pressure in all parts of the village. The equipment includes a chemical engine, two hose carts and a hook and ladder truck, with 2,200 feet of hose. The Aurora Volunteer Fire Company consists of thirty drilled men, and was awarded the banner for superior attainments at the annual tournament of 1908, in competition with all the volunteer fire companies of the range town.

“Extension improvements have been made upon streets and roads, an electric light plant will be installed in the near future, and a village hall is being planned, upon which $20,000 will be expended. With all the public improvements, the bonded debt of the village is only $45,000, and its municipal affairs are honestly and capably managed.

“Considerable street and sidewalk building has also been done, connecting adjacent mining locations with the village, and a wellimproved highway and sidewalk have been constructed leading to 488the newly opened cemetery, one-half mile from the business section of the village … The town of White has also built six miles of road leading toward the settlement on the St. Louis River, which will be extended next year to a connection with the Pike River road.” In 1909, there were still only two church buildings, other denominations “holding occasional services, and … contemplating the erection of houses of worship.” A high school had just been built, and the school district then had an assessed valuation of $9,000,000.

The cornerstone of the new village hall was laid on August 25, 1909. The village officers then were: Charles Olson, president; T. J.

Nicholas, Edward Darrow and Chas. R. Hill, trustees; C. H. Graham, recorder; J. W. Lang, treasurer.

Position, 1915. – By 1915, Aurora had made “a substantial growth.” “A complete new water system” had been built, and “a modern power plant installed at a cost of $35,000.” Also there were “eight blocks of bitulithic pavement, and twenty blocks of white way, with cement walks everywhere.” Farmers’ Day.-Aurora claims to have been the first of the range villages or cities to inaugurate a Farmers’ Day, the first of such gatherings being in 1911, since which year the day has been annually observed by the villages and farmers of the district, with advantage to both.

The far-seeing business men of Aurora are wise to foster agriculture, and to recognize that to an extent its prosperity will be furthered by that industry in the township. The “Palo district, south, and the Embarrass district, north,” are, it has been asserted, “two of the leading agricultural districts of the county, and both … only six miles from the community” (Aurora), with “splendid system of highways leading to them.” It has been further asserted that “there are located in each of these districts at least 150 well-improved farms, with substantial buildings, and considerable developed acreage,” which Aurora might reasonably consider to be within its sphere of trading.

Potatoes and roots are very profitably grown in St. Louis County.

Embarrass alone ships annually from forty to fifty carloads of potatoes.

A Farmers’ Potato club was organized in 1917, or 1918, by the agriculturalists of the Aurora district, the intention being to form a shipping association, for co-operative marketing.

Village Officials, 1920.-E. T. Sandberg, president; Jacob Sheryah, E. Utter, and George Simonich, trustees; John G. Fabish, clerk; Louis Champa, treasurer.

Fire Department.-Aurora still has its volunteer fire company of thirty members, with Mayor E. T. Sandberg, fire chief. In addition, the village maintains on full-time three truck drivers, having excellent modern fire-fighting equipment, including a large motor fire truck, and two hose carts.

Library.-The nucleus of a public library is that established a few years ago, for which library a room in the village hall was set apart. There is in addition the comprehensive library of the high school.

Churches.-There are now three church buildings in Aurora, the Methodist Episcopal, the Holy Rosary Catholic Church, and the Finnish Methodist Episcopal. There are, however, no resident ministers.

City Conveniences and Improvements.-Aurora is becoming quite citified. Cement walks extend practically through the village: there are twenty-two blocks of bitulithic paving; there is municipal heat; 489Aurora owns a fine electric light and power plant, also an adequate water plant; its sewage-disposal system is good; and, although some of the highways are now in a state of transition, it is only a question of a brief period of time before Aurora will be able to claim that it is approached by highways as good as those of any other part of the range.

The village maintains an artistic public park, and endeavors in every possible way to elevate the standard of living in the community.

Assessment.-In 1919, the assessed valuation of real and personal property within the Village of Aurora was $2,972,772. Its total taxlevy was 79 mills, of which only 20 mills were for village ftnds. It may therefore be considered that Aurora is economically administered.

Population.-The population in 1903 was 174; in 1910 the federal census credited Aurora Village with 1,919 residents. The last censustaking, 1920, showed the village to have grown to a population of 2,809, which is a proportionately greater growth than some other range communities have experienced.

Publicity.-The “Aurora News,” a seven-column weekly, all home print, has a circulation of 850. It has been issued without a break since June 16, 1907, when A. E. Koen, of Biwabik, established it.

Shortly afterwards, H. L. Nicholson became part owner on February 29, 1908, acquiring his partner’s interest. In March, 1910, Mr. Koen again purchased the paper, but very soon afterwards took E. H. Yarick into partnership, Koen being editor and Yarick manager. In March, 1912, Mr. Yarick became sole owner, and has held the paper in that status ever since. He also has a moderate-sized job plant, and has the advancement of the village at heart.

Banking.-Aurora has two banks. The older, the State Bank of Aurora, was founded in April, 1906, with an original capital of $25,- 000. The first officials were: James A. Robb, president; Fred B.

Meyers, vice-president; P. M. Johnson, cashier; Alfred Hoel and C. H.

Taylor, directors. The bank opened in a frame building upon its present site, and the fine bank building now standing there was erected in 1919, at a cost of $26,000. The bank now has a capital of $25,- 000, and a surplus of $13,000. Its present officials are: James A.

Robb, president; A. E. Reese, vice-president; Leroy Schoweiler, cashier; L. F. Sever, asst. cashier; L. R. Christensen and J. A. Rickert, directors.

Total deposits, according to a “Statement of Condition” at close of business, June 30, 1920, are $381,070.40, with a reserve on hand in excess of that required by law.

The other bank, the First National Bank of Aurora, was founded May 28, 1919, by C. E. Moore, president; J. A. Barton, vice; H. C.

Doerr, cashier; Geo. WV. Schubmehl and Theodore Albricht, directors.

All still hold office. The capital is $25,000, and the bank now has a surplus of $5,000. The bank has a modern bank building, which was erected in 1919, at a cost of $16,300. It was in that building that the bank opened for business in December, 1919. The “Report of Condition” of the bank, at the close of business on September 8, 1920, showed that its total deposits then were $321,809.12.

Education.-The history of School District No. 13 was written specially for this work by Miss Florence A. Mims, of the Aurora faculty, and published in the school journal, the “Aurora Borealis,” issue of January 28, 1921. Miss Mims’s very complete “Sketch of School District No. 13,” in part, reads: 490″School Beginning.-So early as March, 1904, the first school meeting in the Town of Aurora took place in the store of R. J. Mc- Ghee and Company. This meeting was held in the old town, now known as Meadow location, where Aurora was first started before being moved to the present location, technically known as the first and second divisions of the Village of Aurora. At the meeting were present Messrs. Frank Filonowicz, Martin Sever, Dan Pallanck, R. J.

McGhee, Frederick Anderson, Jake Werner, George Kitto and others.

It was decided at this meeting that a school should be organized for the Town of Aurora. The school was begun in the spring of 1904, with Miss Daisy Barron, of Biwabik, as teacher. The building used was that vacated by Mr. Warner Fleet.

“From here the school was transferred to Mr. John Filonwicz’s building. Before being moved to the Aurora Grade building, the school was again moved, this time to the upper floor of Mr. Martin Sever’s building, lately occupied by Mr. Abramson. This was the first school to be held in what is now Aurora proper.

“In the fall of 1904, Mr. Huntoon, of West Duluth, became the teacher, and held the position until Mr. Chas. Graham and his sister were elected as the faculty of the school.

“Aurora Grade Building.-The first regular school stands today one block west of the main street of the town. Being the first grade building, it was given the name of the town. … This building was erected in 1905. In that day and time, it was a tiny affair of four rooms, two up and two down stairs. … The first principal of the Aurora Grade school was Mr. Charles Graham. The first superintendent was Mr. Noah A. Young, who held the position until 1910.

Up to the present time, the Aurora school principals have been: Miss Frances Adams, now Mrs. Colombo; Miss Gertrude Boase; Miss Christina Creer, and Miss Margaret Fitzgerald. Mr. Graham was first hired to teach at the Spring mine. The school there was opened September, 1908. Mr. Graham was hired as teacher and janitor for $75 per month. The school was held in one of the mine company’s buildings. Mr. Young resigned his position as superintendent of the Aurora schools January 22, 1910, and Mr. F. L. Freeman was chosen on the same date.

Growth in Faculty and Students.-In 1904-05, there were four teachers only in School District No. 13. The enrollment of students for that year was 81. Two of the teachers were at Aurora, one at Mesabi, and one at Allen Junction.

“In 1911, there were 500 school children enrolled, and 23 teachers engaged, 20 of whom were in the town of Aurora. There were 20 pupils over 16 years of age in the high school. During the period between 1906 and 1911 the Aurora Grade building was doubled in size, and the new High School building erected.

“At the present time there are fifty faculty members, two at Mohawk, two at Mesaba, and two at Meadow, the remaining ones being in the Town of Aurora proper. … There are 1,063 students enrolled.

… “Early Mesaba Schools.-The first school that was in Mesaba was moved to Allen Junction, where it was used as a school. It was afterwards sold by the school board to Mr. Beatty, who later moved it to Aurora and made it into a home. This is the present home of Mr. and Mrs. C. F. Chellew. I am unable to find out when this school was built, because it was in Mesaba when my mother, Mrs. C. Anderson, came to Mesaba, and that was twenty-three years 491ago. (It probably was built in 1890 or 1891, when a period of great, but brief, importance came to the little community that grew near Mesaba Station, which in 1890-91, and possibly later, was the outfitting and railway center, for expeditions of explorers bound westward on the Mesabi range, in search of the much-talked-of iron ore).

“There also is another school in Mesaba that was being used when my mother came here. This school was used until the new school was built. The old school, now * * is occupied by the janitor, Elmer Q. Anderson.

“Outlying Schools.-The school at Allen Junction was closed many years ago. Mr. J. B. Beatty, then of Allen, purchased the building for $200. This he later moved to Aurora and made a residence out of it. … The old school at the Adriatic was replaced by a modern building in 1911. This building was later moved to Aurora, and is now known as the Meadow School. The principals up to the present time have been Mr. P. J. Jenkins, Miss Christina Creer, Miss Dora Voth and Miss Lucille Hawkins. Principals at Mesaba have been: Miss Clarabella Friedheim, and Miss Margaret Shea, who is the present principal.

“Manual Training Department.-In 1908, arrangements were made for furnishing the manual training department. Today it is an essential part of the school system, and is fortunate to have Mr.

Roy Cross as its efficient head. At a meeting of the board in the same year (1908) the first truant officer, Joe Custis, was appointed.

… “Made an Independent District.–… In … 1912, the Aurora School District was made into an independent district. At that time the board consisted of: AV. J. Rashleigh, director; Mr.

Chas. H. Graham, clerk: and Mr. T. J. Nicholas, treasurer. On April 13, 1912, the common school district was voted an independent school district, by a vote of 199 in favor * * : to 18 against. … On April 27th the new board of six members was elected, as follows: Rev. J. W. Schenck and Mr. Wim. J. Mudge, for the three-year term; Mr. August Knuti and Mr. John Gersich, for the two-year term; Mr.

C. H. Graham and Mr. W. N. Canfield, for the one-year term. Monday afternoon, April 29, this new board met, and organized, as follows: Mr. Wim. J. Mudge, chairman; Rev. J. W. Schenck, clerk; Mr.

John Gersich, treasurer.

“School Board Chairmen.-The following have been chairmen of the school board from 1908: Messrs. C. WV. Williams, W. H. Guinn, John Gersich, T. J. Nicholas, W. J. Rashleigh, \Wm. J. Mudge, Marcus Levin, E. T. Sandberg, C. H. Blanchette, and 0. F. Halstrom, the present chairman.

“School Term.-At a meeting of the school board, in July, 1908, it was decided that the school term should be ten months. In these twelve years, the board has not deviated from this rule.

“Hearding High School.- The next school building erected in … Aurora was the Hearding High school, completed in the latter part of 1911. … The speakers on this occasion (dedication) were Mr. John H. Hearding, of Duluth, for whom the building was named, and Dr. George E. Vincent, the president of the University of Minnesota at that time, and now the head of the Rockefeller Foundation. … “Mr. John H. Hearding gave a history of the name of the school, stating that the first person of the name of Hearding of whom he 492had been able to find trace was Samuel Heardinge, who lived in Devonshire, England, in 1664. … “… On the sixth of January, 1912, the first High School orchestra was organized, and the first program was given Friday, January 12, 1912. … “At a meeting of the school board in January of the same year a petition for a night school was placed before the board by forty Finnish men and women, who wished to learn the English language.

“The superintendents of the Hearding school, in the order in which they came, were: Mr. F. L. Freeman, Mr. De Witt Adkins, and Mr. Stanley Adkins. During Mr. Stanley Adkins’ absence, while in the service of his country in the World war, Mr. R. E. Denfield took his place until his return in 1919. The principals of the Hearding school … have been Miss Julia Biedrwzyski, Mr. W. E. Eng- THE HEARDING AND JOHNSON SCHOOLS, AURORA lund, Mr. Henry Schrammel, and Mr. Paul O. Stone. During Mr.

Stone’s absence … in the World war, Mr. Dwight L. Hiestand took his place. Mr. Stone is the present principal.

“Johnson Building.-The Johnson building, named for John A.

Johnson, ex-governor of Minnesota, was completed in 1913. The architect … was Mr. Anthony Puck, of Duluth. The first two principals … were: Miss Frances Adams, now Mrs. Colombo; and Miss Clarabelle Friedheim. Miss Gertrude Boase is now the principal.

“Agricultural Building.-The present agricultural building, at the rear of the Hearding building, was placed there in 1918. This building was originally used as a school at Adriatic until the new school was erected that has since been moved to the Meadow location.

“School Band.-As far back as 1910, the school had a band. At this time, it has become a fine orchestra, conducted by Mr. O. R.

Olson. … “Transportation of Pupils.-On the fifteenth of January, 1912, 493the board made arrangements for transporting the students from the Mohawk School to the Hearding High School.” General.-(The Athletic Association was organized November 21, 1911, Tom Filonowicz being first president. Plans for bleachers and grand stand on Athletic Park were prepared in 1912. The first football game was played in October, 1911, when Chisholm team was beaten 11 to 6. Girls’ basketball team was formed in 1911, and the first High School Glee club in same year. The Lyceum Literary society was organized February 20, 1920, and Public Speaking Department early in that spring, Miss Marion Robb, graduate of Leland Powers’ School, having charge.) “Mohawk School.-The date of building the Mohawk building is not known, as at that time the Miller and Mohawk mines were opened, all that territory within the village that lies west of the road east of the Athletic park and the Johnson School building was a part of the Biwabik school district. When the need of a school for the Mohawk and Miller children arose, the Biwabik school district, of course, built the building. Aurora people did not like this arrange- NEW HIGH SCHOOL BUILDING (NOW IN COURSE OF CONSTRUCTION) ment, and traded some valuable property north of the village to Biwabik, in order to have the Miller and Mohawk included in this school district. It is said that the Biwabik school district gained nearly one million dollars of valuation in the transfer, but Aurora gained control of her own school affairs. The two school districts were laid out long before Aurora was started. The principals at Mohawk have been: Mr. Taylor, who resigned to take a principalship at Duluth; Miss Gertrude Boase; Miss McManus, now Mrs. Win. J.

Quale; Miss Helander; Miss Bertha Stoltz.; and Miss Bessie L. Lester, the present principal.

“Appropriations for Schools.-In July, 1908, a levy of $77,500 for current expenses, with $25,000 of this amount used as a building fund, was proposed by the school board. … “For 1920, the levy was placed at $450,000, $80,000 being for a building fund, and the rest for the general fund.

“The New High School Building.-For several years, the Board of Education of School District No. 13 has been thinking of erecting a new High School building. Plans were completed four or five 494years ago, but when the bids were taken the cost was estimated to be too great, and the proposals were refused. Since the cost of labor and materials was so great, the erection of the building was postponed until after the war.

“During the latter part of July, 1919, bids were taken and contracts were let. The A. C. Thomas-Guthrie Construction Co., of St.

Paul, secured the general contract for $406,300.00. The contracts, in all, totalled to $523,037.00.” The new building will consist of a basement, a ground story, a first and second story. The architects were Tyrie and Chapman, Minneapolis. In the basement will be a gymnasium, a swimming pool, showers, and several manual-training branches. On the ground floor one of the distinctive features will be a “large roomy library, designed for the community as well as for school purposes,” the room being made inviting by a large open fireplace, and appropriate furniture.

Above, on the first floor, there will be thirteen classrooms, and offices, with three classrooms on the top floor.

An idea of the scope of the new school building may be gathered from the fact that it will provide quarters for the following departments, amongst others of more academic class: Physical training, which will have the facilities of swimming pool, running track, showers, lockers, exercise room, provision for seating spectators, offices and examination rooms, manual training, which will be provided with drawing room, blue print room, printery; sheet-metal shop, grade bench room, lumber storage room, machine shop; demonstration room; automobile shop, forge room, and tool rooms; agriculture will be equipped with a laboratory, dairy room, lecture room, demonstration hall, and greenhouse; the science department will need lecture room, chemistry laboratory; domestic science department will have a serving room, sitting room, bath room, reception room, dining room, butler’s pantry, kitchen, laundry, and a cafeteria designed to seat 125 pupils.

The auditorium of the new building will have a seating capacity of six hundred and fifty persons.

The building is expected to be ready for occupancy early in 1922, and when completely equipped will give Aurora facilities equal to those of most of the other leading Range schools, than which there are probably no better equipped or instructed schools in the country, certainly not in Minnesota.

Mr. Adkins, the present superintendent of schools, is an educator of experience, and an executive of progressive and broad-minded capacity.

Mr. Stone, the high school principal at Aurora, also, is an efficient and capable educator.

Miss Mims states that she is indebted to the undermentioned persons for much of the data embraced in her sketch, and for some of the pictures of early school days: to Mr. Earl H. Yarick, of the Aurora News; Mrs. Colombo, of Virginia; Mrs. Charles Hill, of Aurora; and to Mr. Wm. Hill, of Aurora.


  • Van Brunt, Walter, ed. Duluth and St. Louis County, Minnesota Vols. 1 – 3. The American Historical Society. Chicago: 1922.
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