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Aurora, Missouri
Location of Aurora, Missouri
Location of Aurora, Missouri
Country United States
State Missouri
County Lawrence
Founded 1870
Incorporated 1885
 • Type Council - Manager
 • Total 6.33 sq mi (16.39 km2)
 • Land 6.30 sq mi (16.31 km2)
 • Water 0.03 sq mi (0.08 km2)
1,401 ft (427 m)
 • Total 7,432
 • Density 1,182.63/sq mi (456.62/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 417
FIPS code 29-02548
GNIS feature ID 0713486

Aurora is a city in Lawrence County, Missouri, United States. As of the 2020 census, the population of the city was 7,432.


The Honey Creek area, near Aurora, Missouri 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, 1885, 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 minors. Aurora's population peaked at 10,000 around 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.

Between 1911 and 1920, the virulently anti-Catholic newspaper The Menace was published in Aurora by W. F. Phelps and Earl McClure. In 1914 it achieved a national circulation of over one million, according to the March 1932 issue of American Mercury.

The Lewis Shaw Coleman House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2016.


Aurora is located at 36°58′12″N 93°43′14″W / 36.97000°N 93.72056°W / 36.97000; -93.72056 (36.969956, -93.720574). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.98 square miles (15.49 km2), of which 5.95 square miles (15.41 km2) is land and 0.03 square miles (0.08 km2) is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 3,482
1900 6,191 77.8%
1910 4,148 −33.0%
1920 3,575 −13.8%
1930 3,875 8.4%
1940 4,056 4.7%
1950 4,153 2.4%
1960 4,683 12.8%
1970 5,359 14.4%
1980 6,437 20.1%
1990 6,459 0.3%
2000 7,014 8.6%
2010 7,508 7.0%
2020 7,432 −1.0%
U.S. Decennial Census
2013 Estimate

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 7,508 people, 2,948 households, and 1,943 families living in the city. The population density was 1,261.8 inhabitants per square mile (487.2/km2). There were 3,396 housing units at an average density of 570.8 per square mile (220.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 92.3% White, 0.3% African American, 0.9% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 4.4% from other races, and 1.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.5% of the population.

There were 2,948 households, of which 36.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.8% were married couples living together, 14.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 34.1% were non-families. 28.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 3.09.

The median age in the city was 35.8 years. 27.6% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25% were from 25 to 44; 23.4% were from 45 to 64; and 15.8% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.2% male and 52.8% female.


The Jerry Sumners Sr. Aurora Municipal Airport is located two nautical miles (2.3 mi, 3.7 km) southeast of Aurora's central business district.


Aurora R-VIII School District operates one early childhood school, one middle school, one Jr high school, and Aurora High School.

Aurora has a public library, a branch of the Barry-Lawrence Regional Library.

Notable people

  • Arthur "Doc" Barker, part of the Barker-Karpis gang; born in Aurora and died trying to escape from Alcatraz
  • Fred Barker, founding member of the Barker-Karpis gang; born in Aurora and died in a gun fight with the FBI
  • Don S. Davis, actor, best known for playing Major Garland Briggs on Twin Peaks and General George S. Hammond on Stargate SG-1
  • Isaac V. McPherson, (March 8, 1868 – October 31, 1931), congressman from Missouri
  • Lefty Williams, pitcher for 1917 World Series champion Chicago White Sox, banned after Black Sox Scandal

See also

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