The Aurora Hotel - A Colony Landmark

As early as 1860, after the stagecoach line that connected San Francisco and Portland was established, Keil turned of portion of his “Great House” into a hotel and restaurant for travelers.  Aurora, located halfway between Portland and Salem, found itself right on the line.  Ten years later, Keil faced a new challenge when Ben Holliday’s Oregon and California Railroad also came through Aurora.  But this time Keil was ready.  He had anticipated the railroad and had the colonists build a large hotel which they completed in 1867.

Hotel management

Jacob Giesy managed the Aurora Hotel until 1881 when he purchased the business and continued running it privately until his death in 1904. In later years the hotel also houses a meat market, a saloon, and private residences.  It was torn down in 1934 during the height of the Depression when a new road was built.

A Colony Landmark

Visitors coming into Aurora on the train sometimes were greeted by the colony band playing from the top of the hotel.  Colony women cooked and served the food and Federal Judge Mathew Deady was so impressed with the food that he wrote in his diary that he wished there was “a Dutchtown” at every stop.

From Henry T. Finck’s Food and Flavor

“The Aurora hotel soon became far-famed; and when the first railway was built from San Francisco to Portland, the astute makers of the time-table somehow managed it so that most of the trains stopped at Aurora, though it is but twenty eight miles from the terminal, Portland.”


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