Move of Aurora's oldest structure being considered

by KEN LAHMERS | EDITOR Published:

Aurora -- What is believed to be the oldest standing structure in the city limits may have a new home, if a historical society proposal comes to fruition.

City Councilman John Kudley, who is president of the Aurora Historical Society, told his colleagues on the landmark commission Aug. 21 that a former land agent's office at Spring Hill Farm might be moved to the center of town.

"This is very preliminary, but there has been some discussion between the historical society and city administration about moving it," said Kudley.

According to the Councilman, the 12-by-20-foot wood-framed building is believed to have been built about 1805, and served as an outbuilding on the Spring Hill Farm for many years. The farm is now owned by the city.

The property occupied by Spring Hill Farm is where Aurora's first settler -- Ebenezer Sheldon -- located in a log cabin when he and his family arrived in the Connecticut Western Reserve in 1799.

Kudley said one new location for the building which has been suggested is the triangle strip of land across East Pioneer Trail from Aurora Memorial Library, which houses in its basement the historical society's museum.

Kudley said once it is renovated the building could become the starting point for walking tours of the Town Center historic district, and possibly a history education center.

He noted if city officials eventually decide to raze the farmhouse on the Spring Hill property, the materials could be used to restore the building, which landmark panel architectural adviser Ron Lowe said has been locally landmarked, but is not on the National Register of Historic Places.

Kudley said the historical society could raise money for the move and restoration, or could seek sponsors who are willing to donate money or in-kind services in exchange for recognition for their efforts.

Lowe said getting state grant money for moving and restoring the structure would be difficult since it is not on the historic register.

"This project is in the dreaming stage now, but it would be a nice addition to the center of town if we could pull it off," said landmark commission chairman Jeff Clark.

Email: klahmers@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4189

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