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!

 

 

 

 

Nature Magazines for Kids

I hope that you and your family are having lots of fun exploring the world of animals during our Summer Reading Program “Tails and Tales.” We have so many great animal books, but don’t forget to check out the nature magazines we also have for kids. These magazines all feature lots of amazing photographs, fun facts, and short articles. They’re perfect for sharing together or for your children to read on their own. The format makes a magazine an especially appealing choice for reluctant readers of all ages.

 

Reading about nature with your children will encourage their curiosity and increase their vocabulary. That can be reinforced with a nature walk around your community. Another option would be completing the Library’s Animal Scavenger Hunt (for Aurora or Dillsboro).

In addition to our printed magazines, you can also read digital magazines through the Indiana Digital Download Center. Just select the Aurora Public Library District and login with your library card number (no spaces) and PIN. Then look for the Collections tab and select Magazines. All of our digital magazines are simultaneous use, so no waiting ever! You’ll find National Geographic Kids, National Geographic Little Kids, and Animal Tales.

If you ever need help using our digital resources just call 812-926-0646, and we can talk you through the process.

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!

 

Animals by Steve Jenkins

I can tell you exactly why I love reading children’s books about animals. During my childhood, my home-town library had a summer reading program where you could read any kind of book and THEN there was a Smokey the Bear program where you needed to read books about animals. My sister just tolerated the nature books, but I loved them. Thank you, St. Simons Public Library!

I think one of the best author/illustrators of animal books for children is Steve Jenkins. His primary medium is cut paper, and he has illustrated his own books, he’s written and illustrated with his wife Robin Page, and he’s illustrated books for other authors like April Pulley Sayre. Jenkins’ books typically focus on one aspect of the animal world, such as relationships, habitats, camouflage, etc. You are guaranteed to learn something amazing with each of his books!

Actual Size by Steve Jenkins Animals in Flight How to Clean a Hippopotamus by Steve Jenkins

Biggest, Strongest, Fastest by Steve Jenkins Sisters & Brothers by Steve Jenkins

What Do You Do with a Tail Like This? by Steve Jenkins Eye to Eye by Steve Jenkins  Living Color by Steve Jenkins

Look Again by Steve Jenkins How Many Ways Can You Catch a Fly? by Steve Jenkins Bees, Snails, & Peacock Tails by Steve Jenkins

A Boy and His Skunk

A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold

 

 

For Bixby Alexander Tam (nicknamed Bat), life tends to be full of surprises — some of them good, some not so good. Today, though, is a good-surprise day. Bat’s mom, a veterinarian, has brought home a baby skunk, which she needs to take care of until she can hand him over to a wild-animal shelter. But the minute Bat meets the kit, he knows they belong together. And he’s got one month to show his mom that a baby skunk might just make a pretty terrific pet.

 

 

 

After reading A Boy Called Bat, you’ll want to dive right into the next two books in the series.

Bat and the Waiting Game by Elana K. Arnold    Bat and the End of Everything by Elana K. Arnold

For more “unusual pet” stories, give these books a try! Rascal and The Tarantula in My Purse are juvenile biographies (J 912), and Flora & Ulysses and Pax are juvenile novels found in the juvenile fiction of the library.

Rascal by Sterling North The Tarantula in My Purse by Jean Craighead George Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo Pax by Sara Pennypacker

New on Novelist!

The eternal question: what to read next! We love to make book recommendations, but if the library is closed, there’s a great resource that you can access through our library website. We’ve recently moved our Reading Online Resources closer to the top of the list at: https://eapld.org/online-resources/. Just click on Novelist or Novelist K-8 (for children’s books). Type in a title or an author to find reading suggestions for books that are similar in subject, tone, or pacing.

The Aurora Public Library District has recently upgraded to a more robust version of Novelist that provides access to all of the Novelist features directly through our online catalog. Just do a catalog search for a book you enjoyed. Select the book title from the search results , and then look for the “Related” link on the left side of the page. Here’s what my screen looked like when I searched the online catalog for the book An American Marriage.

As you can see, Novelist suggested similar titles and similar authors. Scrolling down further will show a tab with Story Elements. By clicking on the elements that you enjoy, you may find additional titles. Here I selected Character-driven, Domestic Fiction, and Southern Fiction.

Scrolling down more will show both book reviews and awards won by the book. Another way you can use Novelist is to determine the order of books in a series. You can do this directly from Novelist, but if the book you are reading is part of a series, you can also grab this information from the Novelist input to the catalog. For example, if I have started the Louise Penny books, but don’t know which book comes after A Great Reckoning, I can search for that title, click on the Related tab, and all the books in the series will be shown in order. You can see that in the image below.

Play around with Novelist through the direct link and also within the online catalog. I bet you’ll find some great new books to enjoy! As always, if you need help with this resource, just ask one of the Library staff.

Join One of Our Book Groups

If you like to read a variety of books, and if you like to discuss the books you read, you should consider joining one of the Aurora Public Library District’s book groups. There is an evening group that meets at Carnegie Hall in Moores Hill on the first Monday of each month (second Monday, if the first Monday is a holiday). There are also afternoon groups that meet at the Aurora Public Library on the fourth Thursday and at the Dillsboro Public Library on the fourth Friday each month. The Aurora and Dillsboro groups are led by Ron Nicholson of Ivy Tech. All three groups meet monthly in January through October, and the Library provides the books a month in advance. Call the Library at 812-926-0646 to sign up for any of these groups!

Here are some of the upcoming selections for 2020. You can view past selections at: https://eapld.org/programs/.

      For the Moores Hill Group                            For the Aurora and Dillsboro Groups

Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell                         The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

Miss Benson's Beetle by Rachel Joyce                          All Adults Here by Emma Straub

The Gifted School by Bruce Holsinger                        Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell

Tales of Tigers

To help celebrate our Summer Reading theme Tails and Tales, I want to highlight some of my very favorite tiger picture books. If you don’t currently have a favorite tiger picture book, please check these out! They are all special to me, although for different reasons. I fell in love with Mr. Tiger Goes Wild at first because of the illustrations, inspired in part by A Child’s Garden of Verses (the 1951 version illustrated by Alice and Martin Provensen). I also came to love the way Mr. Tiger needs his little escape into the wilderness, but still comes to realize the importance of coming home. Besides all that, I think Peter Brown is a picture book genius. If you don’t believe me, just check out Creepy Pair of Underwear.

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown  Tiger in My Soup by Kashmira Sheth

Tiger in My Soup, written by Kashmira Sheth and illustrated by Cincinnati artist Jeffrey Ebbler, is the story of a young boy who desperately wants his sister to read him a story. Does he imagine the tiger, or is it real?

For every child who has wanted to wander outside at night, just imagine the wonder of coming across a dancing tiger! The Dancing Tiger by Malachy Doyle is perfect for any child who loves the idea of a secret friend. I hope you’re familiar with the picture books by Jan Brett. She often retells traditional folktales and her artwork is always stunning. Look for the side panels in The Tale of the Tiger Slippers to get a hint about what’s coming on the next pages.

The Dancing Tiger by Malachy Doyle The Tale of the Tiger Slippers by Jan Brett

 

June Dollar-a-Bag Book Sale

Our Dillsboro branch will be holding its Dollar-A-Bag Book Sale on June 18th & 19th. You’ll find something for everyone on your list – mysteries, thrillers, romance, classics, westerns, travel, crafts, DIY, DVDs, audio books, CDs, children’s books, large print, magazines, cookbooks and much, much more.

The sale takes place in the Dillsboro basement on Friday the 18th from 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM and Saturday the 19th from 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM.  New books are added to the collection every week, so shop early and often! Bags will be provided.

FunJungle Tales from Stuart Gibbs

Join FunJungle’s resident zoo sleuth, Teddy Fitzroy, as he solves mysteries and strives to protect the animals at the zoo with these funny and suspenseful novels in the bestselling FunJungle series from author Stuart Gibbs.

When Teddy Fitzroy moved into FunJungle, the nation’s largest zoo with his scientist parents, he expected things to be kind of quiet. There’d be the occasional elephant stampedes and water balloon fights with the chimpanzees, of course, but when Henry the Hippo dies from not-so-natural causes, Teddy suspects foul play. And that was just the beginning. He begins to realize that the zoo is far more exciting than he thought it was, and soon the mysteries at FunJungle are piling up…

Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs Poached by Stuart Gibbs Big Game by Stuart Gibbs

Panda-monium by Stuart Gibbs Lion Down by Stuart Gibbs Tyrannosaurus Wrecks by Stuart Gibbs Bear Bottom by Stuart Gibbs

If you enjoy the books in this series, you’ll also enjoy The Wolf Keepers by Elise Broach.

The Wolf Keepers by Elise Broach