The Town of Aurora as a government was founded in 1818, fourteen years after the first settler Jabez Warren obtained a contract from the Holland Land Company for 1,443 acres and made it his family’s home in 1804. Previously, Native Americans lived in the area. The town is 36 square miles with a current population of approximately 14,000, which includes the Village of East Aurora, the hamlets of Jewettville, Griffins Mills, West Falls and a portion of South Wales.
One of the town’s earliest and most prominent settlers was a young Millard Fillmore, pictured, who came to Aurora in the early 1820s to open the first law practice in town and build a home for his future wife Abigail. Twenty-seven years later, Millard Fillmore became President of the United States. The President’s home was moved twice: from its original location on Main Street to Millard Fillmore Place, and then in 1930 to its current location on Shearer Avenue. Irving Price, who was one of the founders of international toy company Fisher-Price, purchased the home of Millard and Abigail Fillmore. Margaret Evans Price, a well-known artist, used the home as her art studio. Today it is a National Historic Landmark.
Due to its proximity to Canada, before the Civil War the Town of Aurora, especially the hamlet of Griffins Mills, played a major role in the Abolitionist Movement and on the Underground Railroad.
With the Hamlin and Jewett Farms, the latter of which included the world's only mile-long indoor racetrack off Grover Road, Aurora became known as the horse-racing capital of the world in the late 1800s.
Aurora is also well known for its contribution to the turn-of -the-century Arts & Crafts movement, led by Elbert Hubbard, who founded the Roycroft Community at the corners of Main and South Grove Streets. The Roycroft artisans are still recognized today for their hand crafted works and the 14-building campus is a National Historic Landmark that attracts people from around the world.
The Town of Aurora is governed by a Town Board that consists of the town supervisor and four town council members. The town supervisor is elected every two years, and town council members are elected every four years.
The appointed town Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals consider and make decisions regarding development and zoning in the town. There are also various other advisory boards and committees.
The Village of East Aurora, incorporated in 1874, is a separate government entity within the Town of Aurora. Residents of the village are also residents of the town. Additional information about village services is available at the village's website.