City of Aurora
The awards jury found this Fox Valley community to have one of the “most diverse” preservation programs in Illinois. Its landmarks ordinance dates to the mid-1980s and its early successes included the adaptive use of an 1855-66 stone railroad roundhouse that had been slated for demolition. In recent years, the City has sponsored a wide range of innovative projects, including: interpretive signage for significant buildings, a cell phone walking tour of downtown landmarks, a set of architectural trading cards aimed at school groups, a web site featuring downloadable brochures, and an architectural survey followed by trolley tours of the city’s vast collection of Sears-designed houses. The City also restored a rare 1924 shelter along the Lincoln Highway (U.S. 30), a set of Art Moderne-style sculptures on a downtown bridge, and played a key role in the $1.5 million conversion of the former Central Fire Station (built in 1894) into a Regional Fire Museum. “Everything they do is outstanding,” the jury noted.