Last modified: 2012-05-04 by rick wyatt
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image located by Valentin Poposki, 25 September 2007
The City of Aurora, approximately 20 miles west of Chicago, can trace its beginnings to a community established on an island in the Fox River in 1834 by Joseph McCarty, who had traveled west from New York. Soon, he was joined by his brother, Samuel. The original settlement was named McCarty Mills because the brothers had established a saw mill and grist mill in
the village. When the first post office was established in 1837, the area was renamed Waubonsie after a local Potawatomi chief. Waubonsie was one of the signers of the 1826 Treaty of the Wabash and of the Treaty of Chicago in 1832. However, there was already another settlement with that name.One account of how Waubonsie became Aurora is that many of the settlers
originally lived near East Aurora in upstate New York. Another says that Waubonsie in the language of the Potawatomi means
"early dawn" and the settlers simply "translated" it.
The city was incorporated in 1857 and in 2003, the city's population surpassed Rockford's to become the second largest in Illinois. Because of expansion, the city now lies in four counties, Kane, DuPage, Kendall and Will. However, Aurora's greatest notoriety may be as the home of Saturday Night Live characters Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar who hosted their fictional show Wayne's World on one of Aurora's public-access cable channels.
To design a flag, the city established a selection committee and held a contest in 1967. Over 200 entries were submitted from which the committee selected five finalists and submitted them to the Mayor and aldermen. Their final selection was adopted June 18, 1967, and sent for production, but was not to be revealed publicly until the following month. Because of delays in the manufacturing process, the unveiling was delayed until December 18, 1967. The winning designer was Bonnie Nigales, a 14-year-old freshman at Madonna High School. She received the first flag and an engraved plaque from Mayor Albert McCoy. Second place winner, Max Gimple, also received a flag. The winning design depicts the silhouette of the city skyline in black against the blaze of a yellow aurora. Beneath the skyline is a green valley on which is the inscription "Incorporated 1857" in black. This is encircled by two sprigs of leaves joined at the bottom. Around the sprigs is a blue ring and beneath is a yellow ribbon bearing the inscription "Aurora Illinois" in black. The whole field of the flag is white. Ms. Nigales described her design saying the blue represented the peacefulness of the Fox River Valley. The green was for the fertile lands around the city and the yellow was for the Aurora Borealis, after which the city is named.
Valentin Poposki, 25 September 2007