Aurora IL is described on wikipedia as a suburb of Chicago, but the population is 200K. Hell of a suburb, if that's the case; do they think of themselves as such?

Let’s start with the knockout: whoa!



The Paramount Theatre in Aurora was commissioned in 1931 by J. J. Rubens for one million dollars. It was designed by esteemed theater architects C. W. and George Leslie Rapp. It was the first air conditioned building built outside of Chicago. Paramount intended to bring such large theaters to all large cities across the country, but the Great Depression effectively ended these plans. The theater opened in September 1931 with appearances from Paramount film stars including The Marx Brothers, Jack Benny, and Burns and Allen. It is capable of holding 1,885 people; originally it held 2,125, but capacity had to be reduced to conform to fire codes.

Fully restored.

And now, the rest of the story.



“Here’s the design! Hope you like your bank.”

“Uh - we’re the fire department”

No old man, however dignified he may seem, should wear Crocs

You suspect the original religion moved to better digs, and a dollar-store version moved in.


If there’s any natural fit for an old bank building, I’d say it’s a mattress company. It’s what people used as a bank, after all.


Architect, tongue hanging out of the corner of his mouth as he concentrates: I have to find a way to concentrate people's attention on the door so they can find their way in

That’s some quality Prairie School ornamentation, complete with the roosting-bats motifs.



The Keystone Building is the largest private office building designed by George Grant Elmslie. It also may be the largest office building designed in the Prairie Style.

A perfectly fine old office building. I may be misled by the cornice hues, but looking at the proportions indicated by the windows, I wouldn’t be surprised if they tacked on that back section later.


Terracotta gems like this are often found intact, since even the usual gang of vandals felt abashed at painting this or covering it up.


You really, really want to pull that second-floor string course down to see if all the floors will resize proportionally.

Obligatory Ugly Modern Bank:

See terra-cotta, above.


Buildings like speak of a prosperous time. Beauty can be accomplished with any budget, but when you’ve a few bucks to burn you can go Gothic and the smart people will love it.

Glitch in the matrix; wall skins imperfectly coded


That’s a hellaciously impressive vista for a town of this size, and a sign of how good things were going in the 20s.



Not a small amount of illegal spirits were consumed in that structure, I suspect.

The Aurora-Leland Hotel had all the modern amenities of the time, including telephones in every room. Topping this skyscraper was the Sky Club, a dinner and dancing club outfitted with elaborate decor and furnishings of the highest quality. The views from the Sky Club as well as its elegance made it a place to see and be seen by local socialites. "Swanks" from Chicago thought the Sky Club a fun place to take their dates. Philip K. Wrigley, fan dancer Sally Rand, and the singing cowboy Gene Autry are some of the famous names seen there.

Housing now, of course. One final note:

The tower is also known for being a popular spot for committing suicide. Many have taken their own life by jumping off the 22 story tower into the river below. Because of this, many believe the building is haunted. Those who live in the now apartment complex claim they often hear moans in the elevator and smell foul odors throughout the building.[citation needed]