Aurora Historical Society

Aurora Historical Society The Aurora Historical Society gives the past a future. Please call to verify hours. Our hours vary by the season. 2013.

The last visitors of Tanner House Holidays 2023 have visited and all votes have been tallied for the Visitors' Choice Aw...
01/02/2024

The last visitors of Tanner House Holidays 2023 have visited and all votes have been tallied for the Visitors' Choice Awards.

In Third Place is the Parlor, Barbie Comes to the Tanner House, decorated by Carol Hartzell Bassett.

In Second Place is the first-floor bedroom, Toys That Travel, decorated by Bill Walsh.

And in First Place is the second-floor bedroom, A Sweet Nutcracker Suite, decorated by Samara Bee.

Congratulations to the Visitors Choice winning rooms and decorators! Thank you to all of our wonderful decorators for transforming the Tanner House into a winter wonderland and thank you to all of our guests who visited this season. We look forward to seeing you back at the Tanner House in the spring!

TWO CHANCES LEFT to see the historic Tanner House Museum dressed to the nines for the Holidays! Join us Friday, December...
12/22/2023

TWO CHANCES LEFT to see the historic Tanner House Museum dressed to the nines for the Holidays! Join us Friday, December 22 and 29, from 4-7pm at the corner of Cedar & Oak to explore and cast your vote for the Visitor's Choice Award.

12/22/2023
Have you toured Tanner House yet this season? Be certain to check out how spectacular our donation box looks this year! ...
12/15/2023

Have you toured Tanner House yet this season? Be certain to check out how spectacular our donation box looks this year! Darlene Varney created an exact miniature replica of the Tanner House parlor!

Did you know that the kitchen at Tanner House has a holiday gift shop set up? You can tour the rooms all dressed up for ...
12/08/2023

Did you know that the kitchen at Tanner House has a holiday gift shop set up? You can tour the rooms all dressed up for the holidays in different themes from local decorators and businesses, and then do some shopping!

Fridays 4pm-7pm
Sundays 1pm-4pm
305 Cedar St
Aurora, Illinois
60506

Thank you to our guests and visitors for the Tanner House Holidays opening day!A special thank you to this year's event ...
12/04/2023

Thank you to our guests and visitors for the Tanner House Holidays opening day!

A special thank you to this year's event coordinator, Ruby Sue Bee, for all your time and loving attention to showcasing the elegance and beauty of the Tanner House. Thanks also to superstar volunteers Kathy Olson and Kris Carmichael.

Visit https://go.aurorahistory.org/TannerHolidays for hours and additional details to help plan your visit this Holiday Season.

Photos courtesy of event sponsor Gary Bahnick.

A very special thank you to Thrift & Dollar our Sponsor For our December event, Tanner House Holidays. We have some love...
12/01/2023

A very special thank you to Thrift & Dollar our Sponsor For our December event, Tanner House Holidays. We have some lovely new holiday decor, glassware, and more thanks to the generosity of Thrift & Dollar. You can shop for your own terrific decor with them at
950 N Lake Steet
Aurora, Il
60506

Have you made your December plans to go to Tanner House yet? A local Holiday favorite activity for many, you can tour th...
11/29/2023

Have you made your December plans to go to Tanner House yet? A local Holiday favorite activity for many, you can tour the rooms of the Italiante Mansion built in 1857 and enjoy seeing the rooms decorated in different holiday themes. Below are descriptions of the rooms this year, and we are thrilled to have two local businesses as decorators- Yellow Bird Books Aurora and The Cornucopia Shop LLC - Gift Baskets, Teas!

Which room are you most excited to see? Don’t forget that when you visit, you can vote for your favorite room!

Opening Day is Saturday December 2nd 1pm-3pm
and then Sundays 1-4pm
and Fridays 4pm-7pm.
305 Cedar St
Aurora, Illinois
60506

By visiting https://go.aurorahistory.org/GivingTuesday today, you will give the past a future and allow us to continue t...
11/28/2023

By visiting https://go.aurorahistory.org/GivingTuesday today, you will give the past a future and allow us to continue telling how YOU are part of the Aurora Story.

The 4th of July Family Picnic and Ringing of the Bells has been a community staple for many decades. Your gift empowers the Society to continue hosting the free event for the community featuring a petting zoo, a pie eating contest, and family-friendly entertainment like Andy Head the Wild Wacky Juggler, and the Aurora American Legion Band.

By visiting https://go.aurorahistory.org/GivingTuesday and supporting us this GivingTuesday, your generosity recognizes ...
11/25/2023

By visiting https://go.aurorahistory.org/GivingTuesday and supporting us this GivingTuesday, your generosity recognizes that being able to tell the story of the past to future generations is truly a priority for our community.

The Aurora Historical Society protects, interprets, and shares the history of the second-largest city in the State of Illinois -- no small feat for an independent organization that is not funded through a line on your tax bill.

Give Aurora's past a future this   by visiting https://go.aurorahistory.org/GivingTuesday to show your support.The 4th o...
11/21/2023

Give Aurora's past a future this by visiting https://go.aurorahistory.org/GivingTuesday to show your support.

The 4th of July Family Picnic and Ringing of the Bells has been a community staple for many decades. Your gift empowers the Society to continue hosting this free event for the community featuring a petting zoo, pie eating contests, and family-friendly entertainment like Andy Head the Wild Wacky Juggler, and the Aurora American Legion Band, to name a few.

Just in case you haven’t yet rsvp’d interested or going to Opening Day of Tanner House Holidays , here are some sneak pe...
11/18/2023

Just in case you haven’t yet rsvp’d interested or going to Opening Day of Tanner House Holidays , here are some sneak peek photos of a couple of rooms! This year the parlor is being done up with all things Barbie, from the 1960’s to today. Our dining room is a mad, mad tea party courtesy of The Cornucopia Shop LLC - Gift Baskets, Teas! The Tanner library will be dressed up in a literary theme by Yellow Bird Books Aurora. The sitting room is a mid century Christmas, and yes-there are still more surprises in store! Let us know what you think!

Now available in-store or online, the Vintage Aurora 2024 Calender: 175 Years of the Burlington Railroad 1849-2024.Visit...
11/18/2023

Now available in-store or online, the Vintage Aurora 2024 Calender: 175 Years of the Burlington Railroad 1849-2024.

Visit us at the David L. Pierce Art & History Center (20 East Downer Place) or visit https://go.aurorahistory.org/2024calendar to have it delivered to your mailbox by ordering online. $17.95 plus applicable tax and shipping.

Closing this week! Don't miss your chance to explore the Uniting for Victory: Poster Art of the World Wars Exhibit!
11/14/2023

Closing this week! Don't miss your chance to explore the Uniting for Victory: Poster Art of the World Wars Exhibit!

Veterans Day Parade & Reception, Vintage Aurora 2024 Calendar Pre-Preorder, War Poster Exhibit & More in the most recent...
11/09/2023

Veterans Day Parade & Reception, Vintage Aurora 2024 Calendar Pre-Preorder, War Poster Exhibit & More in the most recent e-news. Visit https://go.aurorahistory.org/enews231109 to read all about it!

🇺🇸⭐️🇺🇸Come visit us tonight at Pierce Center for First Friday and be among the first to enjoy our latest exhibit-Uniting...
11/03/2023

🇺🇸⭐️🇺🇸
Come visit us tonight at Pierce Center for First Friday and be among the first to enjoy our latest exhibit-Uniting for Victory: Poster Art of the World Wars. Here is a behind the scenes look at Scott Sherwood and Bill Walsh installing the exhibit.

Thank you to Denise Crosby for the wonderful article on our October event, and thank you to all of our guests and volunt...
10/31/2023

Thank you to Denise Crosby for the wonderful article on our October event, and thank you to all of our guests and volunteers. See you next October!

It's a beautiful place to visit ... but are hauntings living there?

Put your costume on and visit us at the David L. Pierce Art & History Center, 20 East Downer Place, today from 1-3 p.m. ...
10/28/2023

Put your costume on and visit us at the David L. Pierce Art & History Center, 20 East Downer Place, today from 1-3 p.m. as we and dozens of other Aurora Downtown locations participate in Trick or Treat DOWNTOWN AURORA.

Visit us at the David L. Pierce Art & History Center, 20 East Downer Place, between 1 and 3 p.m. to join us for Downtown Aurora Trick-or-Treat.

Come see the wonderful Ofrenda at the Pierce Center, 20 East Downer Place — we have photos featuring some rather notable...
10/27/2023

Come see the wonderful Ofrenda at the Pierce Center, 20 East Downer Place — we have photos featuring some rather notable Aurorans.

Tickets for the Tanner House Tours by Candlelight are officially sold out.Stay tuned for information regarding Tanner Ho...
10/24/2023

Tickets for the Tanner House Tours by Candlelight are officially sold out.

Stay tuned for information regarding Tanner House Holidays or visit us at the Pierce Center in the meantime. Visit www.aurorahistory.org for hours, events, and much, much more!

We've had a wonderful time with our guests during the Tanner House Tours by Candlelight! The remaining tour tickets are ...
10/21/2023

We've had a wonderful time with our guests during the Tanner House Tours by Candlelight! The remaining tour tickets are nearly sold out with only single tickets remaining (no couples, or multiples available) as of the time of posting. Visit aurorahistory.org/october to grab one of the available tickets!

There are still a couple of tickets available for this weekend's Tanner House Tours by Candlelight. Get yours while you ...
10/06/2023

There are still a couple of tickets available for this weekend's Tanner House Tours by Candlelight. Get yours while you still can at www.aurorahistory.org/october!

The amazingly popular, twice-extended Here Comes the Bride exhibit must close on Saturday, October 7, 2023.Visit us at t...
10/04/2023

The amazingly popular, twice-extended Here Comes the Bride exhibit must close on Saturday, October 7, 2023.

Visit us at the David L. Pierce Art & History Center at 20 East Downer Place in Downtown Aurora this week (Wednesday-Friday from Noon - 4 pm and Saturday from 10 am - 4 pm) to explore the Aurora Historical Society’s 2023 summer Exhibit Here Comes The Bride gives a glimpse into fashions of the past as worn by Aurora women from 1853 – 1976.

The exhibit's premier sponsor is Wolsfelt's Bridal.

Each week during the Here Comes the Bride exhibit, the history of one of the dresses will be featured on the website and...
10/03/2023

Each week during the Here Comes the Bride exhibit, the history of one of the dresses will be featured on the website and social media. Visit these dresses and more in person from June 2 and extended for a second time through October 7, 2023, at the David L. Pierce Art & History Center. Visit https://www.aurorahistory.org/dress-hohenadel/ to learn more.

Gertrude Rebecca Huehn (1853-1923) married Theodore Hohenadel (1853-1936) in this dress on November 11, 1879 in Chicago.

The dress represents the height of fashion for the late 1870s, with a corseted waist and exaggerated rear bustle. The heavy cream-colored satin underskirt features a ruffled hem. The patterned gold overskirt, trimmed with chenille fringe, is gathered up and draped, and features a long train. The dress has elbow-length sleeves with
ruffled tulle undersleeves.

The dress still has attached artificial wax orange blossoms, the traditional flower for brides in the 19th century. Normally, if the dress was to be worn on other occasions (as they often were in this era) these would have been removed after the wedding. Because the orange blossoms are still attached, we know that the dress was worn only for the wedding and then put away.

The bride and groom raised their children and lived their lives out in Chicago. So how did this beautiful dress of a Chicago bride make its way to Aurora?
Gertrude’s namesake daughter, Gertrude Marie Hohenadel Wortman (1891-1986), was responsible. In 1922, she married Glen R. Wortman (1891-1958), a Chicago-born investment banker who had transplanted to Aurora a few years earlier. The couple made their home on the west side of Aurora, where they raised their twin sons; both she and her husband lived the rest of their days in Aurora. It was Gertrude who donated her mother’s beautiful dress to the Historical Society.

The exhibit's premier sponsor is Wolsfelt's Bridal.

09/29/2023

Join us on Good Morning Aurora this morning as we discuss our Tanner Tours by Candlelight event and more!

Each week during the Here Comes the Bride exhibit, the history of one of the dresses will be featured on the website and...
09/25/2023

Each week during the Here Comes the Bride exhibit, the history of one of the dresses will be featured on the website and social media. Visit these dresses and more in person from June 2 and extended for a second time through October 7, 2023, at the David L. Pierce Art & History Center. Visit https://www.aurorahistory.org/dress-esther-kopp/ to learn more.

This dress was worn by Agnes Esther Alice Banker (1888-1977) for her wedding to John L. Kopp (1886-1975) on November 19, 1913. Agnes grew up on a farm on Deerpath Road in Sugar Grove Township. Her husband was also from a farm family, from Iowa.

Agnes, a skilled seamstress, made her own wedding dress. The dress is very emblematic of its early 1910s era -- a one-piece, narrow-waisted cotton floor-length dress with elbow-length sleeves accented with embroidered lace. The bodice, or top portion of the dress, features embroidered lace in a v-pattern overlay with a high neck collar. Decorative embroidered lace runs vertically down the front center the skirt accented by a jeweled rosette. The waist has a wide sash accented with a rosette.

After the wedding, the couple went to live on the Kopp family farm in Iowa, where they raised their family of four children. The couple moved back to this area in 1956, when Agnes inherited her family farm. They lived the rest of their days here, and are buried in Sugar Grove Cemetery.

Daughter Betty Kopp Gorshe donated the dress to the Aurora Historical Society after her mother’s passing, along with her aunt’s 1912 wedding dress, also made by Agnes.

Thank you to Tanner House Tours by Candlelight sponsor French 75 Gallery and Lounge!Visit www.aurorahistory.org/october ...
09/21/2023

Thank you to Tanner House Tours by Candlelight sponsor French 75 Gallery and Lounge!

Visit www.aurorahistory.org/october to get your tickets for this one-hour tour for ages 16 and up. Tours will begin with a brief introduction that includes the history of the house and the family that inhabited it. Guests will then be able to explore portions of the home and grounds, aided and informed by docents stationed throughout the property.

Thank you to Tanner House Tours by Candlelight sponsor Hoof + Horn!Tickets are going fast -- visit www.aurorahistory.org...
09/19/2023

Thank you to Tanner House Tours by Candlelight sponsor Hoof + Horn!

Tickets are going fast -- visit www.aurorahistory.org/october to buy yours and explore the 1857 Tanner House Museum in an entirely unique way — after dark.

Each week during the Here Comes the Bride exhibit, the history of one of the dresses will be featured on the website and...
09/18/2023

Each week during the Here Comes the Bride exhibit, the history of one of the dresses will be featured on the website and social media. Visit these dresses and more in person from June 2 and extended for a second time through October 7, 2023, at the David L. Pierce Art & History Center. Visit https://www.aurorahistory.org/dress-della-winckler/ to learn more.

Last week, we looked at the dress worn by Della Mae Schoo for her first marriage in 1962. This week, we look at her dress for her second wedding in 1976.

This dress was worn by Della Schoo Paluska (b. 1943) for her wedding to Richard F. Winckler (b. 1949) on March 31, 1976. The second marriage for both parties, the wedding took place at the Kane County Government Center in Geneva, where Della was employed.

The dress reflects its 1970s era – it is floor-length, made up of a thick peach-colored underlay with a sheer, floral-patterned attached overlay. It has a v-neck with large ruffled collar, and ruffles along the hem. The dress itself is actually sleeveless, but is combined with a cropped, long-sleeved bolero-style overjacket of the same sheer material and pattern, also hemmed along its bottom with ruffles; together, they appear as one. The bride purchased her dress at the Jacqueline Shop in Oswego.

Della grew up on Aurora’s east side, and had married the first time about a year after her 1961 graduation from East High. Richard grew up in a farming family from Sugar Grove, and graduated from Hinckley-Big Rock High School. After graduation, he continued farming in Sugar Grove and Big Rock, and had married for the first time in 1970.

The couple, who are still married, reside in Big Rock, and Della still works for Kane County. She donated this dress, along with the dress from her first marriage, to the Aurora Historical Society in 2005.

The exhibit's premier sponsor is Wolsfelt's Bridal.

Each week during the Here Comes the Bride exhibit, the history of one of the dresses will be featured on the website and...
09/12/2023

Each week during the Here Comes the Bride exhibit, the history of one of the dresses will be featured on the website and social media. Visit these dresses and more in person from June 2 and extended for a second time through October 7, 2023, at the David L. Pierce Art & History Center. Visit https://www.aurorahistory.org/dress-della-paluska for additional information.

This dress was worn by Della Mae Schoo (b. 1943) for her wedding to Michael C. Paluska (1940-2013) on June 13, 1962 at St. Mary’s Church in Aurora.

Della’s short-sleeved dress features an embroidered outline design of leaves and abstract flowers, filled in with sparkly beads and sequins. The wide bell skirt has a short train, and the dress features an oversized bow at the lower back. On her wedding day, a tiara headpiece with shoulder-length veil completed the princess look.

Both bride and groom were East Siders. Della was a 1961 graduate of East Aurora High School; Michael a 1958 graduate of Marmion Academy. The marriage ended in divorce in 1974; however, both parties went on to find lifelong love with other partners.

Della donated this dress and the dress from her second marriage to the Aurora Historical Society in 2005. Next week, we’ll feature Della’s 1976 dress from that second marriage.

The exhibit's premier sponsor is Wolsfelt's Bridal.

09/08/2023

We’ve heard you, Aurora! We are pleased to share that the Here Comes the Bride exhibit has been extended for a second and final time!

Visit this beautiful exhibit at the David L. Pierce Art & History Center from Noon - 4 pm Wednesdays - Fridays and 10 am - 4 pm on Saturdays through October 7, 2023.

The exhibit's Premier Sponsor is Wolsfelt's Bridal.

That’s a wrap! As the 2023 Tanner House regular season has come to a close, volunteer Annie R. (and former live-in caret...
09/04/2023

That’s a wrap! As the 2023 Tanner House regular season has come to a close, volunteer Annie R. (and former live-in caretaker), is seen putting away our precious artifacts for safekeeping.

We can’t wait for you to visit for Tanner House Tours by Candlelight this October, tickets available now, and to see the house decked in tinsel and garland for Tanner House Holidays this winter.

Each week during the Here Comes the Bride exhibit, the history of one of the dresses will be featured on the website and...
09/04/2023

Each week during the Here Comes the Bride exhibit, the history of one of the dresses will be featured on the website and social media. Visit these dresses and more in person from June 2 and extended through September 9, 2023, at the David L. Pierce Art & History Center. Visit https://www.aurorahistory.org/dress-barbara-peck/ for additional information.

This dress was worn by Barbara Mosley (b. 1932) of Montgomery for her wedding to Stanley Peck (b. 1931) of Aurora on February 20, 1952.

Barbara’s mid-length ivory satin dress features an embroidered pattern, short sleeves with cuffs, a v-neck with a pointed collar, and side pockets. The dress is a Natlynn Exclusive Original; this brand was known for “inspired adaptations” of dresses in contemporary movies or worn by movie stars in the 1950s.

Barbara was a 1950 graduate of West Aurora High School, while husband Stanley graduated a year earlier, in 1949. At the time of their marriage, Stanley was serving in the Marines. Residing in Montgomery, the couple went on to raise 13 children.
Barbara donated her dress to the Aurora Historical Society in 2008, five years after donating Stanley’s uniform.

Last chance for 2023 -- come and see what makes the Tanner House so special! The regular 2023 season's last day is this ...
09/03/2023

Last chance for 2023 -- come and see what makes the Tanner House so special! The regular 2023 season's last day is this Sunday, September 3. Visit us from 1-4 p.m. to take a step back into the Victorian era. Visit aurorahistory.org for additional details.

A video tour of the 1857 Tanner House in Aurora, Illinois.

Tickets are now on sale! Join us for Tanner House Tours by Candlelight and experience the historic Tanner House Museum l...
09/01/2023

Tickets are now on sale! Join us for Tanner House Tours by Candlelight and experience the historic Tanner House Museum like never before. Visit https://www.aurorahistory.org/october for tickets and additional information.

About the Event Explore the 1857 Tanner House Museum in an entirely unique way -- after dark. The Tanner House Tours by Candlelight will allow visitors to e ...

Each week during the Here Comes the Bride exhibit, the history of one of the dresses will be featured on the website and...
08/28/2023

Each week during the Here Comes the Bride exhibit, the history of one of the dresses will be featured on the website and social media. Visit these dresses and more in person through September 9, 2023, at the David L. Pierce Art & History Center. To learn more, visit https://www.aurorahistory.org/dress-susan-morley/.

This dress was worn by Susan “Susie” N. Crater Hubbard (1851-1875), the adoptive daughter of Nelson and Mary Hubbard, for her wedding to Thomas Nelson Morley (1843-1881) on January 1, 1874 in Yorkville.

This Kelly green dress is made of silk poplin, a sturdy mix of silk and wool. While the sewing machine had been in general use for about twenty years by this time, this dress was assembled by hand stitching. At the time, it was common to have a dress made for a wedding (in whatever color the bride chose) that would afterward become the lady’s “best dress,” worn for important occasions. This dress features an exaggerated “bustle” in the back, an essential part of 1870s fashion.

About a year after the marriage, on February 15, 1875, the Yorkville couple were blessed with a child, Nelson Thomas Morley. Childbirth carries risks for the mother, and unfortunately, eleven days after giving birth, Susie died on February 26, 1875 from complications of the birth. According to her tombstone in Elmwood Cemetery, Yorkville, she was “Aged 23 years, 3 months and 14 days.” Son Nelson was adopted and raised by Susie’s own adoptive parents, Nelson and Mary Hubbard.

The dress was donated to the Aurora Historical Society in 1946.

The exhibit's premier sponsor is Wolsfelt's Bridal.

Thank you, Mary, for sharing so much of your time, talent, and treasure!
08/24/2023

Thank you, Mary, for sharing so much of your time, talent, and treasure!

Born and raised in Chicago, Ormond said she felt right at home in Aurora the first time she drove down Lake Street in 1975.

Each week during the Here Comes the Bride exhibit, the history of one of the dresses will be featured on the website and...
08/21/2023

Each week during the Here Comes the Bride exhibit, the history of one of the dresses will be featured on the website and social media. Visit these dresses and more in person through September 9, 2023, at the David L. Pierce Art & History Center. To learn more, visit https://www.aurorahistory.org/dress-susanne-tossing/.

This dress was worn by Susanne A. Niersbach (1912-1994) for her wedding to Edward M. Tossing (1907-1970), which took place at St. Nicholas Church on Saturday, May 30, 1936, at 9:00 a.m.

We need your help! Do you have any photos of the bride and/or groom? Contact us at [email protected] if you're able to assist.

A Beacon-News article at the time reported that the bride “wore a satin gown of pale blush pink fashioned with a long train. The neckline was caught with pearl beads, likewise, the sunburst design on the fitted waist, and the nunlike sleeves added to the charming effect. Her long tulle veil, which matched in color, was coronet style with pearl beads. She carried a shower bouquet of Bride’s roses and lilies of the valley and a pearl rosary.”

The bridal party and immediate family lunched at the Silver Tea Pot restaurant at 13 S. Root St., while an evening reception was held at the home of the bride’s parents, 730 Benton St. Susanne was a 1929 graduate of Madonna High School and was working as a time-keeper at the Chicago-Aurora Tailoring Company on River Street. Edward was managing the family grocery store at New York & Loucks. The couple went on to raise three children.

Their eldest child, daughter Rosanne K. Tossing, donated her mother’s wedding dress to the Aurora Historical Society in 1995.

The exhibit's premier sponsor is Wolsfelt's Bridal.

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