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History

Founded 1804 - Incorporated 1874

The Village of East Aurora's rich history remains an integral part of its present-day character. Located just 25 miles from downtown Buffalo and 45 minutes from Niagara Falls, East Aurora has been home to notable individuals, including U.S. President Millard Fillmore and Elbert Hubbard. The Village is also known as the birthplace of the Roycroft Arts & Crafts movement and is home to international companies, such as Fisher-Price Toys.

A walk down East Aurora's bustling Main Street is, in some ways, a step back in time, with a variety of specialty shops, restaurants, churches, municipal buildings and carefully preserved homes. Main Street is home to various local businesses and attractions, including Vidler's, an old-fashioned 5¢ & 10¢ store, the Aurora Theater with its big-screen and sporting a classic neon marquee, and the Bar-Bill Tavern, famous for local specialties like Buffalo chicken wings and beef on weck. 

Local museums and national historic sites provide direct links to East Aurora's dynamic past. Fillmore, the nation's 13th president, built the Millard Fillmore House on Shearer Avenue when he was a country lawyer in East Aurora. The 1825 structure is restored to that period and features some original Fillmore furniture of the era, as well as items from Fillmore's presidential years.

Founded in 1895, the Roycroft Campus on South Grove Street grew to be a leading international Arts & Crafts center under the leadership of Elbert Hubbard. The Roycroft Inn is completely restored and is open to the public for dining and accommodations. The Elbert Hubbard Museum on Oakwood Avenue features an extensive collection of Roycroft books and Arts & Crafts pieces.

The birthplace of Fisher-Price Toys, East Aurora is a community that is passionate about children.  Fisher Price Toys is a fundamental piece of East Aurora's long history in industry and manufacturing.  Herm Fisher and Irving Price jointly established their company in 1930.  They combined their ambitions into a movement for a new vision of toys and have reflected a creative spirit throughout changing American culture.  As seen in the picture below, they promote the holiday spirit with lights and displays each winter.  Today Fisher Price still remains a competitive toy provider and provides the community with a stable source of jobs and history. Fisher-Price's international headquarters are located on Girard Avenue in the Village.

Sinking Ponds Nature Preserve, located on the Pine Street Extension at the outskirts of the Village, offers hiking trails and a natural habitat for migrating geese and other animals.

Centrally located on Prospect Avenue, Hamlin Park hosts many Village celebrations and concerts and is the home of the Aurora Players, a community theatre company.

During the late 1800's and early 1900's, East Aurora was a very popular place for horse races in New York State.  The most famous track in East Aurora, the Jewett Farm track, built by Henry C. Jewett, was a one of a kind track during its time.  It was a nationwide tourist attraction, due to its completely enclosed design, which even prevented indoor wind. Perhaps the most famous of East Aurora's race horses was named Mambrino King.  Mambrino King was bought by Cicero J. Hamlin in 1882 for $17,000 and brought 16,000 people to East Aurora in two years.   Mambrino King was hailed as "the most handsome horse in the world" and towered above even the tallest of men in East Aurora at the time.

       

Knox Farm State Park is a beautiful mark of landscape on the border of East Aurora, with opportunities for folks of all ages to enjoy.  One one side, there are countless maintained fields primarily managed by Aurora Arsenals for the local youth soccer program, with the large tree at the edge of the parking lot being the focal point, along with two wooden benches on either side. On the other side of Knox and across the road are miles of man-made hiking trails that traverse through diverse animal habitats along with beautiful scenery to offer a relaxed, peaceful experience.

On these trails throughout the four seasons, one can see people running, cross-country skiing, hiking, biking, horseback riding and reading in the hidden nature library.  Many 5K and cycling races are sponsored here each year.  The Knox Farm houses a historic mansion on the property and has been the site of many events, including weddings. 

With the assistance of the Greater East Aurora Chamber of Commerce, East Aurora offers many great locations and services to film makers. Many movies, both from Hollywood and independent companies, have been filmed in East Aurora.  Most recently, "A Prince for Christmas" (originally titled "Small Town Prince"), was shot on location in East Aurora, along with several other surrounding towns.  The movie follows Prince Duncan of Belmont, who is trying to escape an arranged marriage when he flees to America.  In a small town, he meets Emma, a struggling young waitress trying to save her family's diner and the two fall in love.  The movie featured many local places such as The Riley Street Station, The Aurora Theatre, Old Orchard Inn, Vidler's and the Palmer House Bed and Breakfast.  

East Aurora is a community that is firmly rooted in its past and keenly aware of the qualities that make the Village a great place to shop, work and live. The East Aurora Chamber of Commerce offers additional information on things to do, places to go, dining & lodging information as well as a calendar on upcoming events in the East Aurora area.