Mayor to use antique desk at Aurora Town Hall

by MIKE LESKO | REPORTER Published:

Aurora -- A piece of Aurora history stands in the office of Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin at Town Hall.

It is the Eldridge desk, which was built sometime after 1850 and used by Mayor John Eldridge, who served as Aurora's fifth mayor from 1955-59. He was a township trustee from 1946-55.

The desk was part of the Eldridge family for about 150 years.

The maple desk, which was at the Aurora Historical Society's museum, wound up in Womer Benjamin's office after she realized the previous desk was too big. A person at her church mentioned the Eldridge desk and suggested she inquire about it.

"I love it," she said. "It's really in beautiful condition. It really fits in with the era of the building [Town Hall was built in 1882 as a school building]."

City Councilman John Kudley, president of the Aurora Historical Society, said the desk may have been specially made for the Eldridge family because of its unique style. He said the drawer pulls are hand-carved Victorian style.

Kudley said the historical society received the desk in 1986 as a donation from Mayor Richard Shaw and City Council. On Jan. 2, the desk was loaned by the historical society for use by Womer Benjamin for the duration of her term.

"The historical society trustees felt it was a good thing for the city," Kudley said. "A lot more people will see it now."

He added the desk would have belonged to Eldridge's father, a cheese manufacturer in Aurora.

"There is a historical connection to the early settlers of Aurora," he said. "That makes it unique. Aurora was the cheese capital of the world at that time."

That title slid away with the advent of refrigerated train cars that shipped milk more easily to Cleveland and Akron, he said.

Womer Benjamin said she is an antique collector and "a history fanatic."

"So this desk fits in with my personal interests," she continued. "And it suits my size preference for a desk. The whole configuration of the desk is unique. When I went online, I didn't see anything remotely like it. The desk is an indication of the wonderful history that Aurora has."

Email: mlesko@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4187

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Twitter: Mike Lesko@MikeLesko_RPC

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