JOURNAL OF GREAT WATERS ASSOCIATION OF VEXILLOLOGY
May 2007 Vol. XII, No. 1, Issue 23
THE ACANTING@ FLAGS OF AURORA:
ILLINOIS AND OHIO
To borrow a term from heraldry, a Acanting@ flag is one that has a design that alludes to the name of the entity it represents. An obvious inspiration for the design of any city named AAurora,@ then, are the rays of the rising sun, since the name is taken from the Roman goddess of the dawn. Such is the case with the Auroras of Illinois and Ohio, both of which flags show dawn=s rays.1
The City of Aurora, approximately 20 miles west of Chicago, can trace its beginnings to a community established on an island in the Fox River in 1834 by Joseph McCarty, who had traveled west from New York. Soon, he was joined by his brother, Samuel.
The original settlement was named McCarty Mills because the brothers had established a saw mill and grist mill in the village. When the first post office was established in 1837, the area was renamed Waubonsie after a local Potawatomi chief. Waubonsie was one of the signers of the 1826 Treaty of the Wabash and of the Treaty of Chicago in 1832. However, there was already another settlement with that name.
One account of how Waubonsie became Aurora is that many of the settlers originally lived near East Aurora in upstate New York. Another says that Waubonsie in the language of the Potawatomi means Aearly dawn@ and the settlers simply Atranslated@ it.
The city was incorporated in 1857 and in 2003, the city=s population surpassed Rockford=s to become the second largest in Illinois. Because of expansion, the city now lies in four counties, Kane, DuPage, Kendall and Will. However, Aurora=s greatest notoriety may be as the home of Saturday Night Live characters Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar who hosted their fictional show Wayne=s World on one of Aurora=s public-access cable channels.
The winning design depicts the silhouette of the city skyline in black against the blaze of a yellow aurora. Beneath the skyline is a green valley on which is the inscription AIncorporated 1857@ in black. This is encircled by two sprigs of leaves joined at the bottom. Around the sprigs is a blue ring and beneath is a yellow ribbon bearing the inscription AAurora Illinois@ in black. The whole field of the flag is white. Ms. Nigales described her design saying the blue represented the peacefulness of the Fox River Valley. The green was for the fertile lands around the city and the yellow was for the Aurora Borealis, after which the city is named.
Aurora, Ohio, was founded by Capt. Ebenezer Sheldon, a former Revolutionary War soldier, in 1799. The area was then a part of the Connecticut Western Reserve. Sheldon traveled to Ohio through Pittsburgh and was the first white man to settle in the area. Arriving alone, he built a log cabin with the help of another recently arrived settler, Elias Harmon, and then later brought his family from Connecticut, the first to settle in the new Aurora Township. Gradually the township grew as more people arrived. Dairy farming developed into the area=s early principal enterprise. Between 1855 and 1910 Aurora enjoyed a AGolden Age of Cheese,@ which gradually fostered a well-established town. In 1929, Aurora achieved village status, and in 1970 became a city, with over 6,000 residents.
Aurora=s flag was adopted on March 17, 1971. It was designed by Mrs. Dorothy Maxwell, a resident of Moreland Hills, Ohio, and winner of a contest for a new city flag. The Middle School Art Department chose the winner, awarding Mrs. Maxwell the prize of $25, which she graciously donated to the Aurora Memorial Library for an art book.
The flag has a simple design. The field is dark green with a large golden yellow device in the center. The device shows the outline of a kind of equilateral triangle with its sides curved outwards. Centered in the triangle is a rising sun with nine rays extending from it to the triangle=s top and sides, occupying the upper two-thirds of the design. Across the disc of the sun in dark green numerals is the date, 1799. Immediately below the sun, and curved parallel to the base of the triangle is AURORA in golden yellow letters on dark green. The three corners of the triangle represent Heritage, Progress, and Vision. The rays, of course, represent the dawn, and the city=s name. } (JP)