Downtown Heritage Tour
The Aurora Hotel was the City's first large hotel, and for many years, its tallest building. It was erected in 1917 on the site of a mill race and swimming hole. The Georgian style, fireproof building was designed by H. Ziegler Dietz and constructed of reinforced concrete, 5,000 barrels of cement, and 150,000 bricks. The cornice is sheet metal.
The Aurora Hotel features a two-story dining area cantilevered over the Fox River. Both building entrances are capped with double-cut limestone balconies and stone balustrades. Both the Aurora and Leland Hotels were owned by the Gosselin family from 1937 until the late 1970s.
The 22-story Aurora-Leland Hotel (Leland Tower) was built at a cost of $3.1 million from a design by Anker Sveere Graven and Arthur Guy Mayger. When erected in 1928, it was the tallest building in Illinois outside of Chicago. This "modern adaptation of the Italian Romanesque style" incorporated terra cotta details and animal sculptures. All 206 hotel rooms featured private baths and telephones. The Leland housed radio station WMRO, the Sky Club, and the Rathskeller Bar and Grill. The Sky Club was a restaurant and dance club, located on the top floor of the building; it remained a social hub in Aurora through the 1960s.
This photo of the Aurora Hotel [on left side of marker] was taken sometime between 1926-1929. The building stood vacant for nearly fifteen years and was threatened with demolition until it was restored in 1997-1998, and converted into senior housing.
This photo [on the right side of the marker] shows the Leland Hotel under construction in 1927. It opened as the Hotel Leland in 1928. The building immediately to the south was the Loyal Order of Moose, Aurora Lodge #400 building; it later became the Isle Theatre, and was demolished in the late 1980s.
Photo Courtesy of the Aurora Historical Society
The Aurora Hotel
has been placed on the
of Historic Places
by the United States
Department of the Interior
Originally constructed 1917
Architect: H. Ziegler Dietz
North Island Apartments
Developers: Harold D. Rider and Brad Mathes
Architect: Carl R. Klimek & Associates
(Marker Number 22