Historic Sites

Centennial House 1671 Galena Street- Ward I

Built 1890 landmarked 1993

National Register of Historic Places

Aurora Landmark #11

 

_DSC2695Centennial House is a Queen Anne Victorian style home.   It is the oldest of the nine remaining houses Donald Fletcher built for his speculative community east of Denver.  Like all Fletcher homes, it has indoor plumbing and an upstairs bathroom, a luxury considering both the time period and the arid surroundings.  The City of Aurora purchased the house in 1990 and community members restored it for the City’s Centennial year.

Melvin School 4950 South Laredo Street- Ward VI

Built 1922-Landmarked 1984

National Register of Historic Places

Aurora Landmark #1

 

IMG_0956This two-room schoolhouse originally served the outlying community of Melvin. In 1949, the structure was moved to make way for the Cherry Creek Reservoir.  After 17 years of use as a tavern, the Cherry Creek Valley Historical Society moved the school to its current location on the grounds of Smokey Hill High School.  The building is owned and maintained by the Cherry Creek School District. Interesting note: in addition to normal duties, teachers were contracted to ”do all janitor work” and earned a salary of $100 a month.

 

Red Cross Building & Memorial

12862 East Montview Blvd.- Ward 1

Built 1918-Landmarked 1999

Local Historic Landmark

Aurora Landmark #15

 

Red Cross Building and WWI MemorialSoldiers recuperating at Fitzsimmons General Hospital knew they could rely on the Red Cross Building as a refuge from army life.  Built in 1918, the building was designed in the Mission Revival style common to U.S. Army Posts of the southwest.  Surrounded by landscaped grounds, the building featured several fireplaces, a performance stage, and a large auditorium/recreational room.  On the south side of the building stands a monument dedicated to the memory of officers, nurses, and enlisted men in the U. S. Army Medical Corps who lost their lives in the line of duty. The floor plan or “footprint” of this building was originally designed in the shape of the Red Cross.

 

John Gully Homestead House

170 South Chambers Road-Ward III

Built 1866-1871-Landmarked 1986

National Register of Historic Places

Aurora Landmark #3

 

John Gully Homestead HouseThis small house is the oldest surviving home in Aurora.  The ranch, house, stables, and corrals that make up the Gully Family homestead were originally located at Mississippi Avenue and Chambers Road, where this Irish immigrant family raised cattle and horses.  The City of Aurora purchased the house and stable, moving them to the current site and restoring the house in 1982.  It is still owned by the City of Aurora.

 

DeLaney Round Barn

170 South Chambers Road- Ward III

Built: 1902-Landmarked 1989

National Register of Historic Places

Aurora Landmark #9

 

Round Barn on DeLaney FarmOriginally constructed as a grain silo, this round building was converted into a two-story cow barn around 1912.  Perhaps the only surviving round barn in Colorado, its exceptional construction and engineering are believed to be the work of an itinerant carpenter.  The John DeLaney family lived in a home across Toll Gate Creek and raised livestock.  The barn has been restored and houses an exhibit on agricultural and dairy farming in the Aurora area.  It is owned by the City of Aurora.

 

DeLaney Farm Historic District

170 South Chambers Road-Ward III

Built: 1902-Landmarked 1989

Local Historic Landmark

 

The DeLaney Farm Historic District encompasses 158 acres of open space and restored farm buildings that date from 1866 to 1945.  The buildings include the historic Delaney Round Barn and John Gully Homestead House.  This area was originally used by the  DeLaney family for raising horses, dairy cattle, and other livestock.  The DeLaney Farm Historic District is a valuable example of the history of farming and ranching in the Aurora area from the 1880’s.

 

Coal Creek Schoolhouse

170 South Chambers Road-Ward III

Built: 1928-Landmarked 2001

Local Historic Landmark

Aurora Landmark #18

 

_DSC2659For generations of children growing up on the prairie surrounding Aurora, learning usually took place in a one-room schoolhouse.  The original Coal Creek School, located near the Edward Smith Farm, burned to the ground around 1927, and this replacement was constructed during the next year.  The school taught grades one through eight and also served as a community center until 1960.  The schoolhouse and associated buildings have been moved three times; the second move brought it to the Beck Recreation Center/Springhill Park in 1976, and the third move brought it to the DeLaney Farm Historic District at 1st Avenue and Chambers Road.

 

Fox Arts Center

9900 East Colfax Avenue-Ward I

Built 1946-Landmarked 1987

Local Historic Landmark

Aurora Landmark #5

 

_DSC2715Aurora residents longed for a theater since motion pictures became popular, but the Great Depression and World War II made this type of construction impossible.  As soon as the war ended, the Fox Inter-Mountain Amusement Corporation built this 670-seat theater, designed by architect Charles Strong.  The building consists of a U.S. Army Quonset hut fronted with an Art Moderne entrance block, marquee, and neon sign.  A fire forced the theater’s closure in 1981.  The building was restored in 1983-85 and currently operates as a performing arts center owned by the City of Aurora. The marquee of the “theater of tomorrow,” as the Fox was originally dubbed, is 61 feet high, the same elevation as the D & F Tower in downtown Denver.

 

Fitzsimmons Army Hospital Building 500

The Fitzsimons Army Hospital

 

Fitzsimmons Hospital Building 500 is listed on the Colorado Register of Historic places. The facility was founded by the United States Army during World War I arising from the need to treat the large number of casualties from chemical weapons in Europe. Denver’s reputation as a prime location for the treatment of tuberculosis led local citizens to lobby the Army on behalf of Denver as the site for the new hospital. Army Hospital 21, as it was first called, was formally dedicated in the autumn of 1918 in Aurora, which at the time had a population of less than 1,000. In July 1920, the facility was formally renamed the Fitzsimons Army Hospital after Lt. William T. Fitzsimons, the first American medical officer killed in World War I. A new main building, known as Building 500, was built in 1941. The current building 500 was dedicated just four days before the bombing of Pearl Harbor.   At the time, it was the largest structure in Colorado.  Within weeks, it was filled with casualties transported from Hawaii. The facility was used heavily during World War II to treat returning casualties and became one of the Army’s premier medical training centers. In the 1950s, Dwight Eisenhower received treatment at the facility three separate times for his heart condition while he was president. In September 1955, while on vacation at his in-laws’ house in Denver, he suffered a myocardial infarction and was placed in an oxygen tent at the facility. In 2000, a suite of rooms on the hospital’s eighth floor was restored to appear as it did when Eisenhower was recovering there.

Secretary of State, former United States Senator, and 2004 presidential candidate John Kerry was born at the facility on December 11, 1943, while his father was receiving treatment for tuberculosis.

 

Fitzsimmons Post Chapel

 

Fitzsimmons Post ChapelBuilt in 1942, the chapel was part of a push by first lady Eleanor Roosevelt to include worship facilities in Military posts. Mamie Eisenhower sent the chapel an organ after President Eisenhower suffered a heart attack and recuperated at Fitzsimmons for seven weeks. The Post Chapel has unique stained glass windows and New England style architecture.   Countless soldiers were married in the chapel and their children were later baptized there.  Funerals were even more common in the chapel.   The last worship service was held in June 1996.

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