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  • Writer's pictureKandy Thietten

Aurora


Our last stay was in Aurora, NE. Abe looked on his Campendium app (a must have for RVers to find dump stations, parking areas, etc.) and saw a park with free WiFi, free water hook-ups, free electricity hook-ups, AND a free dump station. Well, we know better than that, but we went their anyway, wondering what the app wasn't telling us. We drove in and saw a pretty little park with free Wifi, water, electricity, AND dump! That was a first for us, and how wonderful! They had a fee box, but we decided to spend a little more money in town than usual to pay for our stay, since I'm sure that's why they provided everything - to bring people into town to spend money at the businesses. We went for a walk that evening, and talked to several friendly townspeople. Aurora is home to only about 4500 people, but unlike most small towns I've seen that are slowly dying, it appeared to be thriving. It was clean and well maintained. There were several small shops that seemed like they were doing well. I don't think we saw a single run down building in the entire town. Mayberry may very well have been based on the town of Aurora, NE. It was perfect. If I could go back and raise my boys again, I'd move to Aurora to raise them.


I thought about looking for a Seventh Day Adventist church when we got there, but decided not to even bother. The town was too small. On our first walk, we saw a Seventh Day Adventist church across the road from the park and three buildings down! The park sign said camping was limited to four days, but we decided to cheat a little and stay for five so we could go to church.


The main roads in town were paved with red bricks. Around the turn of the century, I want to say 1905 but I might be a little bit off, a brick manufacturing plant closed down, so the town decided to use the bricks that were left behind to pave the roads. Here we are, over 100 years later, and they are still there.

We went inside the courthouse during business hours and gave ourselves a little tour of the building, in awe of the architecture, style, and old furnishings. A sign outside said that it was built and furnished with a $60,000 levy in 1894. I can't imagine how much a building would cost today with the same quality and craftmanship. Certainly more than I'll ever see in my lifetime! Most of the buildings were from around the turn of the century. I wonder how many buildings built today will still be around in 100 years. I don't imagine many will be. A few people we talked to told us we needed to see the courthouse after dark. Dr. Harold Edgerton, the inventor of the strobe light, grew up there so they put a strobe light in the courthouse tower in his honor. We went back in the evening to see the display.


Our wanderings brought us to an old church from 1912 that left us speechless. The current owner, Gina, was working outside. We stopped to talk with her, and she was gracious enough to give us a tour. She and her husband bought it and are using it as an events center. Wow. Abe and I took separate tours since one of us had to stay outside with the dogs, and when he came back he let me know that if she'd offered to sell it to us for the amount we could afford (far below the value), he would have spent our savings then and there to buy it. I can't say I blame him, and I don't think I would have been mad. We spent a lot of time dreaming and fantasizing about what we could do with a building like that. We'd both rather live in an old building with quality and character than a new one, and an old church has always been my dream home.

(This is now my dream stove.)

The police Chief, Paul Graham, drove by the park to check out the people staying there. I saw him once or twice more during our stay, and it was really comforting to know that he was keeping an eye on things. Abe went out to say hi. He spoke with us for a while, and was kind enough to pose for a picture before he left. Chief Graham struck me as a kind, helpful cop who could hurt you if he needs to. Exactly what the Chief of Police should be.

I shared with him the same story I shared with just about everyone I talked to, and will now share with you.

When we went to Rath's Cafe for breakfast, we were sitting next to a table of eight or ten high school seniors. They were chatting away, having a good time being typical high schoolers, but when their food came out, they all grabbed hands while one of them said a blessing. No parents or anything telling them to do it, it was just what they did. I was so impressed! In all my 43 years, I've never seen that from teenagers. That simple prayer, more than anything else, made me love Aurora.

Today is Saturday, so we started off the day by going to the church that we'd stuck around for. It was a small group of people. I counted sixteen adults and two little girls that I would guess were one and three years old. Honestly, it was more people than I expected. There were no frills. They weren't livestreaming, there was no video or projector running. It was just a group of warm, friendly, welcoming people gathered together to celebrate their love for God and their love for each other. It was beautiful. We both really want to go through Aurora again during our travels. I don't know when, but I'm pretty sure it's going to happen. Now we're on our way to the next state - South Dakota. I've been looking forward to visiting that state since we started, so I'm pretty excited.



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amwcover
May 19, 2021

My family belonged to that church that you had a tour of ❤ Love my hometown of Aurora! Thank you for blogging about it!

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Kandy Thietten
Kandy Thietten
May 19, 2021
Replying to

That’s so cool! Aurora was a pleasure write about.

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linda
linda
May 17, 2021

Sounds like you really had an enjoyable time in Aurora! Thanks for sharing. Especially the story about the teenagers praying before their meal. So refreshing to hear that. Our grandchildren always say grace before putting anything into their little mouths and I'm always amazed at how beautiful that is. I can't say that I'm always that thoughtful and disciplined...

Hey, just wanted to say that I LOVE the drone shot you guys have on your site with you two and the dogs standing next to the SOLD sign. Very cool. Is that an elf on the shelf sitting on the arm sign?


Keep up the blog, I'm enjoying following your travels!

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Kandy Thietten
Kandy Thietten
May 18, 2021
Replying to

We were, but now we’re in Deadwood SD.

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