“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Aurora in Dearborn County, Indiana — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

Two Riverfront Mansions

Ohio River Scenic Byway

— Dearborn County, Indiana —

Two Riverfront Mansions Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), June 26, 2022
1. Two Riverfront Mansions Marker
Following the Panic of 1837, Philadelphia Distiller Thomas Gaff and his brothers James and John sought new opportunity in southern Indiana, where in 1843 they established T. & J.W. Gaff & Co. Distillery in Aurora, Indiana. Soon the Gaff Brothers operated several businesses and maintained a fleet of steamboats for transporting products on the Ohio River. Their connection to steamboating is reflected in the design of Thomas Gaff's Italianate mansion perched above the Ohio River. The mansion was designed by Cincinnati architect Isaiah Rogers in 1853. The home bears a front porch that resembles a steamboat deck, with a circular belvedere above in the style of a pilothouse. The home has been open since 1956 as an historic property museum, showcasing the opulent Victorian lifestyle of the Gaff family. In 1997, the property was awarded the designation of National Historic Landmark.

Veraestau is another Aurora home high on the hills above the Ohio. With a spectacular vista, the home is on Veraestau Lane off Market Street. It bean as a log house with a brick addition built in 1810 by Federal
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and Indiana Judge Jesse Holman. He named it by combining Latin words for spring, summer and fall, hoping the omitted word, "winter," would never touch his home. After a fire in 1837, Holman sold the brick structure to his son-in-law Allen Hamilton, who built a large frame house on the site, retaining the brick section as an ell. The home remained in the family until 1933, when industrialist and historic preservationist Cornelius O'Brien purchased Veraestau as a country retreat for his family. A series of additions brought the house to its current configuration. In 2004, The Cornelius and Anna Cook O'Brien Foundation donated the house to Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana. Home to the organization's Southeast Field Office, it is available for tours and events.

By the way: The Gaff Brothers owned the Crescent Brewing Company, which produced Aurora Lager beer, which was of such good quality it was exported to Germany!
Erected by America's Byways.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: ArchitectureGovernment & PoliticsIndustry & CommerceWaterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the National Historic Landmarks series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1837.
Location. 39° 3.183′ N, 84° 53.996′ 
Two Riverfront Mansions Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), June 26, 2022
2. Two Riverfront Mansions Marker
W. Marker is in Aurora, Indiana, in Dearborn County. Marker is on 5th Street west of Dewers Street, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 203 5th St, Aurora IN 47001, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Mary A. Stratton Park (within shouting distance of this marker); Levi Stevens House (within shouting distance of this marker); First Evangelical United Church of Christ (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Hillforest (about 400 feet away); First Presbyterian Church of Aurora (about 500 feet away); Aurora (about 700 feet away); Korean War Memorial (about 800 feet away); Veterans Memorial (about 800 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Aurora.
Credits. This page was last revised on July 1, 2022. It was originally submitted on July 1, 2022, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 171 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on July 1, 2022, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

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Mar. 4, 2024