Talk About Aurora History Aurora High School

The building known today as the Aurora Recreational Community Center began its history as the Aurora High School.  Construction began in 1934 and the first class to graduate was 1935.  Through the years as a school this building had two new additions and two major fires.

*Have you ever wondered why the ball fields next to the school were called Taylor’s Fields?

*Who was the last person to graduate from the school?

*Why were there dead spots in the school’s gym?

These and many more answers will be revealed in the new season of the 2020 Talk About Aurora History when the history of the Aurora High School will be the topic of discussion.

Due to an expected larger than normal attendance, the Aurora High School program will be held at the Aurora High School Museum, 232 Main Street in Aurora.

Talk About Aurora History is a roundtable discussion held several times a year at the Local History Library @ The Depot located at 510 Second Street.  This very successful program is free, begins at 6:00 and is open to the public.  This program has become an interesting event for those who are local history buffs and is also helpful to those new to the community searching for details of Aurora.  In addition, it provides humor as the attendees share their own folklore.  New topic suggestions are always welcome.

Aurora High School

Tuesday March 24, 2020

6:00 PM

Please, come and join us for an educational and entertaining evening.






Early People From Aurora Who Helped Make Cincinnati Famous

Talk about Aurora History is a roundtable discussion held four times a year at the Local History Library at the Depot. This program is conducted by Roy Lambert who recently presented his 100th Talk.  This program has proven to be very successful, and it may be that this is the only library in the area holding this type of historical roundtable.

This is quite an interesting event for those who are local history buffs and is also helpful to those new to the community searching for details of Aurora.  And, of course, it provides humor, as the attendees share their own folklore.

Various subjects are discussed.  Some past events have included churches, doctors, schools, ferries, businesses, World War II, even caves and the Underground Railroad. Our topic this month is Early People From Aurora Who Helped Make Cincinnati Famous.  Talk About Aurora History begins at 6:00 P.M., is open to the public, and is free of charge. New topic suggestions are always welcome.

Come and join us for an educational, but also entertaining evening on Tuesday, July 23, 2019.  Remember Talk About Aurora History is held at The Local History Library @ The Depot located at 510 Second Street.  For more information you may phone the History Library at 812-926-0646 ext. #3.

You Are Invited

In 2004, the Aurora Public Library District launched its “Talk About Aurora History” series under the late Director Mary Alice Horton.  Talk About Aurora History is a roundtable discussion held at the District’s Local History Library @ The Depot.  For the last fifteen years, Roy Lambert, local history librarian, has been the one who prepares and conducts each talk.  Various topics have been discussed, including churches, doctors, schools, ferries, businesses, wars, caves, and the Underground Railroad.  This is an interesting event for those who are local history buffs and is also helpful to those new to the community searching for details of their new home town.  The 2019 program on May 28 will be a milestone for Mr. Lambert.  On this date, he will present his 100th program.  The Talk About Aurora History series has been extraordinarily successful through the years due to Mr. Lambert’s knowledge of his home town.

You are cordially invited to our 100th celebration of Talk About Aurora History.  The celebration will be Tuesday, May 28th at 6:00 PM.  The Library is relocating this Talk to The Aurora Lions Club Building due to the number of guests expected.  Refreshments will be provided.  Roy’s topic this month will be “Lower Second Street:  The Tim Miller Building Renovation“.  Please come early to ensure a good seat!  Parking is located behind the Lions’ building.  See you there.

Continued success, Roy!

Do You Believe?

It’s a Polar Express Celebration

All Aboard the Polar Express!
The Local History Library @ The Depot invites you to a celebration of the book, “The Polar Express” written by Chris Van Allsburg.

Parents and children alike can enjoy the movie presentation of this classic on Saturday, December 8, at 1:00 PM while enjoying Polar Express treats and crafts. The event is free of charge and all are welcome. Who knows…..perhaps we will have a special visitor from the North Pole! Pajamas are perfect for this adventure but are not necessary!  The doors will open at 12:30 PM.  To ensure seating, please come early.

Do you believe?

Polar Express 

The Local History Library @ The Depot

 510 Second Street

 Saturday, December 8, 2018

 1:00 PM

Santa Claus Indiana — The One And Only!

Santa Claus is a small town located in Spencer County in the southwestern part of the state of Indiana. The town was founded in 1854 and was named Santa Fe (pronounced fee). The story of how it became known as Santa Claus has roots both in fact and fiction. In 1856, the town applied for a post office under the name of Santa Fe. The application was returned with the directions to choose a different name as the town of Santa Fe, Indiana had already been established with the United States Postal Service. There are different versions of the story and there were other choices that the town did not settle upon. The story that appears most often is that the small area of Spencer County was settled in the 1840’s by German immigrants who were too busy to name it.  They put off naming the town so long that the people in nearby cities referred to it as “The Nameless Town.” In 1892, the residents met at a log church on Christmas Eve to select a name. During the deliberations, the doors of the church blew open and sleigh bells could be heard in the distance, causing the little ones to shout, “It’s Santa Claus!” According to legend, the decision was made to go with that. What is known is that in 1856, the name of Santa Claus was accepted by the United States Postal Service.

In 1895, the post office changed the name to one word Santaclaus. The small town went unnoticed until the 1920s, when Postmaster James Martin began promoting the Santa Claus postmark. On February 17, 1928, the name was changed back to Santa Claus and it was then decided that there would never ever be another Santa Claus Post Office in the United States due to the inpouring of holiday mail and the staffing issues it causes. The growing volume of holiday mail became so massive that it drew the attention of Robert Ripley in 1929, who featured the town’s post office in his nationally syndicated Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

On August 3, 1946, industrialist Louis J. Koch opened Santa Claus Land, which is claimed to be the world’s first theme park. The park’s name was changed to Holiday World in 1984. In 1993, it became Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari when a water park named Splashin’ Safari was added to the park. Still owned and operated by the Koch family, it attracts more than one million visitors each year, and is home to The Voyage, which has repeatedly been voted by coaster enthusiasts the number one wooden roller coaster in the world.
In 2005, a local development company purchased Santa’s Candy Castle in addition to other buildings that comprised Santa Claus Town and announced plans to restore and re-open them to the public. When its doors opened on July 1, 2006, Santa’s Candy Castle was the first building of the original town to be re-opened. The 40-ton, 22-foot concrete Santa Claus statue was restored in 2011. In 2012, a local historic church and the town’s original post office were moved to the site next to the large Santa Claus statue.

History of Thanksgiving In Indiana

Thanksgiving is considered an American holiday.  Just the word Thanksgiving brings to mind images of turkey with stuffing, pumpkin pie, family, football, the Pilgrims and Wampanoag,  the founders of the holiday.

In 1817, New York became the very first state to officially declare the Thanksgiving holiday, a day to give thanks for the harvest and the prosperity of our new nation.  The practice of celebrating Thanksgiving quickly spread through the midwestern and northern states with each state holding its own celebration on a different day.  Thanksgiving in Indiana began in 1837 when then Governor Noah Noble proclaimed December 7th as the state’s first Thanksgiving Day.  All the stores were closed and Indianapolis was in great harmony.  In the evening, a benefit for the poor was held at the city’s Methodist Episcopal church in which all the churches joined.  The day was judged “a happy day.”  By 1857, Indiana had begun to celebrate the holiday on the same Thursday every November and in 1863 joined the northern states in celebrating a national Thanksgiving Day declared by President Abraham Lincoln.

The month of November holds another national holiday.  National Indian Pudding Day is a day to celebrate and enjoy puddings created by the Native American Indians and is celebrated each year on November 13.  To celebrate this day in November before Thanksgiving is appropriate as the Native American Indians were a part of our first feast.  Indian puddings are a number of recipes of native American Indian origin.  They may include molasses, cornmeal and dried fruits as ingredients and are usually baked.

The Library invites you to join us at the Local History Library @ The Depot on Tuesday, November 13 to celebrate with us National Indian Pudding Day.  We will have pudding to sample while supplies last and recipes to take home with you.  Who knows…..Indian Pudding just may be part of your Thanksgiving feast this year.

Indians & Mounds

Hopewell Indians

Indians & Mounds

He’s back………!!!
Glenn Cunningham will be visiting the Local History Library @ The Depot on Tuesday, October 23, 2018. Many have requested another visit from Glenn and the Library has listened.  Glenn visited The Depot as a guest speaker with his collection of Indian artifacts two years ago.

Glenn is a retired Navy veteran whose hobby is the history of local Indian tribes, Indian mounds and their relics. He will share his vast knowledge with you along with part of his very own collection of relics. If you wish to bring your own, he will try to identify them for you.  Take a moment to locate your calendar and mark the date.  On the 23rd, grab a friend and come spend the evening with us @ The Depot.


Indians & Mounds

 Tuesday, October 23, 2018 @ 6:00 P.M.

 Local History Library @ The Depot

510 Second Street


Our Veterans, Our Freedom, Our Country, Not One Without The Others

A Veteran is a person who fell in love with our country.  A Veteran is a person who is willing to lay down their life for our country so we may breathe free and enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of our own happiness.  A Veteran is a person who does what he/she MUST in spite of consequences, obstacles, pressures and dangers for the best of all humanity.  A Veteran is a person who gets emotional when he/she sees our beloved American flag and one who will fight to protect the flag from those who dare to dishonor it.  A Veteran – whether active duty, discharged, retired, or reserve – is a person who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to “The United States of America” for an amount of up to and including his/her own life.  That is honor in its highest form.  A Veteran is one deserving of our appreciation,  love, support and prayers 365 days a year. This is just a small insight as to why we, as a country, celebrate Veteran’s Day.

Veteran’s Day is an official United States public holiday observed on November 11th that honors persons who served in the United States Armed Forces. This national holiday also marks the end of the major hostilities of World War I which formally ended at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 when the Armistice with Germany officially went into effect. In 1926, Congress declared November 11th as Armistice Day.  This day became a national holiday by act of Congress in 1938.  The United States observed Armistice Day until 1954 when President Dwight D, Eisenhower signed the law which changed the name from Armistice Day and established November 11th each year as Veteran’s Day.  World War II veteran Raymond Weeks organized the first National Veteran’s Day ceremony.  This ceremony was held in Birmingham, Alabama on November 11, 1947.

We have all heard the phrase – freedom is not free.  Following is the price The United States Military has paid for our freedom:

*American Revolution, (1775-1783) – 4,435 casualties

*War of 1812, (1812-1815) – 2,260 casualties

*World War I, (1917-1918) – 116,516 casualties

*World War II, (1941-1945) – 405,399 casualties

*Korean War, (1950-1953) – 36,574 casualties

*Vietnam War, (1964-1975) – 58,220 casualties

*Desert Shield/Desert Storm, (1990-1991) – 383 casualties

*Enduring Freedom/Iraqi Freedom, (October 2001-present day) – 6,775 casualties

The city of Aurora and surrounding cities have contributed to this price of freedom.  Visit your Local History and Genealogy Library @ The Depot for stories of our local heroes.  If you wish to share your story with us, we have forms available.

Remember our every day freedom is due to the sacrifice of our Veterans and our United State Military.  Take a moment to say “THANKS”!



Intro To Ancestry

Are you interested in learning about your family history but don’t know where to begin? There are many avenues to finding your family origins. Let us show you how to trace your family back generations. We will attempt to make it easy for you to understand. Mr. Roy Lambert, Local History Librarian, will host a brief orientation into Ancestry. Ancestry is the world’s largest online family research authority. This program will be Thursday, July 13, 2017 @ 2:00 PM and will be held at The Local History Library @ The Depot. He will introduce you to the basics of research with an informal lesson on how to navigate through your family tree. Admission is free. Reservations are LIMITED and REQUIRED. Phone the library today to guarantee your reservation. Reservations may be placed at The Local History Library @ The Depot, 812-926-4363; The Aurora Public Library, 812-926-0646; The Dillsboro Public Library, 812-432-5200.

The Hoosier State


In 1848, Bartlett’s Dictionary of Americanisms defined “Hoosier” as: “A nickname given at the west, to natives of Indiana.  So, how did Indiana become The Hoosier State and how did its people become known as the Hoosiers?

The earliest known use of the term Hoosiers is found in an 1827 letter: “There is a yankee trick for you – done up by a Hoosier.”  In 1831, General John Tipton received a proposal from a businessman offering to name his boat the “Indiana Hoosier” if  General Tipton would give him business in the area.  Sarah Harvey, a Quaker from Richmond, explained in a letter to her relatives: “old settlers in Indiana are called ‘Hooshers’ and the cabins they live in ‘Hoosher nests’.  By the 1830’s, the term Hoosier was widely used.  John Finley of Richmond wrote a poem called The Hoosier’s Nest.  “With men of every hue and fashion, Flock to this rising ‘Hoosher’ nation.”  He wrote the word as hoosher and did not think it necessary to explain its meaning which led historians to believe he felt his readers were aware of and understood the term.  In his poem, Finley refers less to the pioneers of Indiana and more to the self-reliance and bravery they possessed.

No one seems to know how the word “Hoosier” came to be.  A few seem to think it was meant to mock Indiana and others feel the early settlers used the term to describe themselves as hearty and courageous.  Jacob Platt Dunn, a historian, suggested the term “Hoosier” referred to boatman who lived on the Indiana shore.  We may never know for sure but research is likely to continue concerning this mysterious term.

The following theories are known to be false:

  • It is derived from the word Hoosa, which means American Indian maize or corn.
  • Hoosier’s Men was a term used for Indiana employees of a canal contractor named Hoosier.
  • “Who’s ear?” – James Whitcomb Riley joked that this question, posed by early Indiana settlers following a tavern fight which had resulted in someone’s ear being cut off and left on the floor, which became the word “Hoosier.”
  • “Who’s yer/here?” – This was the way early Indiana settlers responded to a knock on their doors.  The story goes that it was shortened to “Hoosier.”
  • “Who’s your relative?” – Legend has it that this question was eventually shortened to “Hoosier?”

Indiana became the 19th state on December 11, 1816 when President James Madison signed the congressional resolution admitting Indiana to the Union.  The original capital of Indiana was Corydon.  Corydon remained the capital until 1825 when the capital was moved to Indianapolis.  Today, Indiana is the 38th largest state by area (36, 418 sq. mi.) and the 16th by population, with an estimated 6,619,680 Hoosiers residing in our great state.

We, Hoosiers, have celebrated Indiana’s 200th birthday with many different celebrations throughout the year.  To end the year long celebration, grab a fellow Hoosier and celebrate Indiana’s true birth date with a slice of Hoosier Sugar Cream Pie.