Just Yesterday, The Crescent Brewery

Crescent Brewing Company Depot

 

“Our distilleries are the best and our breweries cannot be beaten. So great is the demand of the Crescent Brewing Company of Aurora, that the Big Four R.R. has built a track from Lawrenceburg a distance of four miles, for its trade.”

 



The Gaff brothers arrived in Aurora in the mid 1800’s: James arrived in 1841, Thomas in 1843, and John followed in 1845.  Upon their arrival, they were already promising young businessmen. When Thomas was young, he learned the distilling business from a Brooklyn uncle named Charles Wilson, and he and his brothers, James and John, opened a distillery in Philadelphia.  After moving to Aurora,  Thomas and James established the Aurora Distilling Company, later renaming it the T. & J.W. Gaff & Company. This distillery was located in the building that is now known as Aurora Recycling, 306 Importing Street, and manufactured rye, bourbon and Thistle Dew scotch whiskey

Crescent Brewing Company

The brothers then turned their interests to brewing. In 1873 the Crescent Brewery was constructed by Charles Bauer. The brewery was a six-story stone and brick building and encompassed a significant section of early Aurora. It contained 1,700,000 bricks and was located at what is now known as the intersection of Decatur, Market and Fifth streets. At this time, the gentlemen reorganized themselves as the Crescent Brewing Company. The brewery was well known for its Aurora Lager Beer which they exported nationally and internationally. It was known to be shipped as far away as Germany.

Thomas Gaff Pumper

In 1876, Thomas Gaff purchased Aurora’s first fire engine. It was named the Thomas Gaff in his honor. In 1891, the brewery experienced a terrible explosion and fire which killed two employees. The Thomas Gaff established a world steam engine record of pumping water continuously for 72 straight hours to extinguish this fire.  

During the 1890’s, the Cincinnati Breweries Company took over the Crescent Brewery and in 1885 it reorganized as The Jung Brewing Company.  This company was very short lived and the business and buildings were vacated by 1911. Left vacant and abandoned the buildings fell into disrepair and were demolished by 1930.  Today, 148 years later, only remnants of the brewery remain – the wall and sidewalk located on the right side of Market Street and the two large caverns tucked into the hillside between Market and Decatur. The caverns still can be viewed across the street from Aurora’s Lesko Park and someday soon. may be revitalized as home to the Crescent Brewery Park.

Cavern Remains

Today, Aurora again has The Crescent Brewery and Aurora Lager Beer.  In 2008, Dan and Lani Valas opened Great Crescent Brewery in a small store on Second Street.  Today they have expanded to a historic building which in 1843 was the warehouse for the Thomas and J.W. Gaff Distillery.  Ironically the brewery is located across from what remains of the Gaff’s Aurora Distilling Company, recognized today as Aurora Recycling.

These are but a few of the fascinating facts about the Great Crescent Brewery and the Gaffs, both very important in early Aurora history.  Visit our Local History Library @ The Depot to learn more about this and other contributions the Gaffs made to Aurora. The Local History Library is located at 510 Second Street near the railroad tracks. The hours are Tuesday and Thursday 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM and the third Saturday of the month 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM. Come with your questions and plan on visiting for awhile!

 

 

 

 

Just Yesterday: The 1937 Flood

The recorded history of the Ohio began in the late 17th century when French explorers reached the Ohio River, a river the Iroquois called O-y-o or “great river”. For many years the majestic Ohio has bestowed Aurora its many gifts along with its rage. Through the years Aurora has experienced numerous floods gifted us by the great Ohio; 1881, 1883, 1913, and 1993, just to name a few.  The most memorable one was in January 1937.

The 1937 Flood is one of the greatest disasters in Aurora history. The heavy rain began on January 9th and continued through January 23rd stopping for only brief intervals. This, combined with melting snow, raised the river well above flood stage. Aurora, along with communities throughout the Ohio Valley, was overwhelmed, without electricity, and short on basic needs. The scale of this flood surpassed all previous floods and left extensive damage throughout the town. Cleanup and reconstruction began immediately, but unfortunately took years to complete.

In 1937, the water level at its highest was 81 feet, reached to the front door of the Aurora Public Library, and forced our library to close. There was no loss of books but there was heavy loss of materials stored in the basement. Also, the flood affected the train depot which now houses the Local History Library. In 1937, the building was a working train depot and the railroad tracks were owned by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. Both libraries have the plate showing the height of the water on the building.

The Baptist Church, a large brick church on Main Street was finished in 1875.  It was one of the finest churches in southern Indiana. The Church survived the ’37 flood waters only to be destroyed by a fire June 4, 1937, due to electrical damage caused by the devastating flood.  For over a year, Sunday morning services were held in the Palace Theater (currently the Fusion Salon & Day Spa) on Second Street. 

These are just a few of the intriguing facts about Aurora during the 1937 Flood.  Visit our Local History Library @ The Depot to learn more about this and other floods that plagued our city throughout the years.  The Local History Library is located at 510 Second Street near the railroad tracks.  The hours are Tuesday and Thursday 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM and the third Saturday of the month 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM.  Come with your questions and plan on visiting for awhile!

 

Jolly Old St. Nicholas

Experience the magic of Christmas with this new musical from the Virginia Repertory Theatre! This play is free for all community members, and three performances makes it possible to fit this in with all the wonderful Miracle on Main events in downtown Aurora. Thanks to St. John’s Lutheran School for letting the Aurora Public Library District use their building!

 

Space Cakes!

Are you a teen who is interested in learning how to decorate cakes?  

   

The Aurora Public library will be having a cupcake decorating class on 

Thursday July 18, 2019 @ 6:00 pm

Teenagers age 13 and up are invited to decorate cupcakes.  Teens will work with piping bags and tips. They will learn how to work with fondant and edible glitter.  We will be decorating cupcakes in a space theme to go with our summer reading program.

This is a free class.  Supplies and space are limited so register early.  

Hope to see you there!  🙂

Imagination Generation: Songs That Build Creativity by David Kisor

As part of our “Family Fun Fridays” we will welcome Award -Winning Songwriter David Kisor to the library.  David Kisor will be bringing the Growing Sound music program “Imagination Generation” to the Aurora Public Library on Friday July 19, 2019 @10:30 am

“Imagination Generation” blends music, movement and creativity for a musical program that is “out of this world.”  Children will learn that their mind is both a toy and a tool. This music program focuses on three critical thinking skills: fluency, originality and adaptability.  

There is no registration required for this free event.  Children will receive a free music CD for attending.

Hope to see you there! 🙂

 

Tween Book Club!

Are you a Tween aged 8-12 who is interested in space travel?  How about an engaging murder mystery?

astronaut_book_Color

  

The Aurora Public Library District will be having a Tween Book Club twice over the summer. 

We will be discussing the book Space Case by Stuart Gibbs!  

 

12-year old Dashiell Gibson is the very first human to successfully move to and live on the moon.  This sounds exciting…but Dashiell is lonely. Kids are not allowed out of the moon base. Worse, the one kid who Dashiell is there with has no interest in anything other than video games.

Dasheill is bored…until the bases top scientist is found dead.   Dashiell knows that Dr. Holtz had discovered something new about the moon.  Dash thinks that someone has killed Dr. Holtz to keep him quiet.

If this sounds interesting to you please stop by the library to pick up your book and then plan to join us:

Saturday July 13 , 2019 at 12:30 pm at The Dillsboro Library

OR

Tuesday, July 16, 2019 at 6:30 pm at The Aurora Public Library

There is no registration required for this free event.  Stop by the library to pick up your book beforehand and join us at one of the discussions.  

See you there!  🙂

 

Day Viewing! Cincinnati Observatory

Everyone knows that the sun is a star that is the center of our universe.

This mysterious star is responsible for so much on earth.  Did you know that the sun helps to determine the earth’s weather?

Have you ever wanted to look at the Sun?  Well here is your chance! The Cincinnati Observatory will be bringing their telescopes to the Aurora Public Library once again!  This time they are offering us an opportunity for a day viewing of the sun. This will be the perfect way to take a look at the sun safely.  No sunglasses needed!

Join us for this Fun Family Friday event and learn about the earth’s closest star!

Friday June 21, 2019 @ 10:30am  

This is a free event and there is no registration required.  

Happy Sun Viewing!  Hope to see you there!  🙂

Harry Potter Essential Oils Potions Class

Are you a Harry Potter fan?  Are you an aspiring wizard or witch? Have you always wanted to learn more about essential oils?  Well you are in luck…

 

The Aurora Public Library will be having a “Potions” class for teens and adults to teach you how to mix your own potions!  This educational class on essential oils will be held upstairs at the Aurora Public Library on :

Thursday June 13 at 6 pm.  

Please call Aurora Public Library at: 812-926-0646 or stop by the library desk to register for this free program.  

Space is limited to 15 so please register as early as possible.

There will be some Harry Potter themed goodies and we will end our evening with some Harry Potter trivia.  

Hope to see all you Muggles there 🙂

To the Moon and Back: Rockets and Orbits

Have you ever wondered how NASA gets their equipment into outer space? Getting satellites and humans into orbit and beyond is not an easy feat. It takes Rocket Science!

Teens are invited to join us on Thursday June 6, 2019 at 6:00 pm at the Aurora Public Library.

Dr. Wesley Ryle, a professor of Astronomy at Thomas More University will be presenting a program about the moon.  We will be looking at what it takes to reach orbit around the Earth, leave Earth and go to the Moon. Participants can test their skills using a rocket simulator/game. Do you have what it takes to become an astronaut?

Registration is not required for this free event.