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MARKER DATABASE
“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)
 

Hillforest

Thomas Gaff House

 

A National Historic Landmark

 
Tour Sign - - Thomas Gaff House image. Click for full size.
By Ginger Drenning, August 23, 2009
1. Tour Sign - - Thomas Gaff House
Inscription. Originally called Forest Hill, Hillforest was completed in 1855 for local industrialist and steamboat owner Thomas Gaff and his family. Emigrants from Scotland in 1811, the six Gaff children moved with their mother to Aurora in the 1840s and became civic and professional leaders locally and in the Greater Cincinnati area. Thomas Gaff and his brothers participated in local politics and maintained diverse business interests including brewing, distilling, mining, banking, farming and milling. Hillforest was the home of Thomas's wife, daughters, siblings, and grandchildren until it was sold out of the family in 1926.

Hillforest is Italianate in style, characterized by ornately carved brackets supporting broad overhangs, corner quoins, slender columns, wide porches, and a circular belvedere. Architect Isaiah Rogers, father of the modern hotel, designed the unique house, considered to be the only remaining structure of its kind. The fourteen room, symmetrical interior reflects the grand life of upper class Victorian culture. High ceilings, elaborate wall treatments, and grand central hallways create an airy mood, dissimilar to many contemporary structures. Walk through windows to porches and balconies afford a spectacular view of the Ohio River and the town below.

The partially wooded ten acre site was at one time elaborately
Thomas Gaff House image. Click for full size.
By Ginger Drenning, August 23, 2009
2. Thomas Gaff House
THOMAS GAFF HOUSE HILLFOREST Has been designated a NATIONAL HISTORIC LANDMARK This Mid-19th Century Estate possesses National significance in commemorating the History of the United States of America 1992 National Park Service United States Department of the Interior
landscaped in a naturalistic style with carriage and foot paths, fruit trees, and terraced vegetable and flower gardens. A gazebo perched on the hillside above the house and a footbridge and small pond completed the rear landscaping. Rockeries to the front and side of the house were constructed from glacial rock. To the east of the house stood a carriage house and green house.

Since 1956 the Hillforest Historical Foundation has owned and cared for Hillforest and its continued restoration. Declared a National historic Landmark in 1992, Hillforest is a graceful reminder of Ohio Valley History and is the legacy of Aurora's rivertown heritage.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the National Historic Landmarks marker series.
 
Location. 39° 3.22′ N, 84° 54.071′ W. Marker is in Aurora, Indiana, in Dearborn County. Marker is on Fifth Street west of Main Street, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 213 Fifth Street, Aurora IN 47001, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. History of the Aurora Ferry Co., Inc. (approx. 0.2 miles away); Aurora (approx. 0.2 miles away); Tanner’s Station 1789 (approx. 2.1 miles
Hillforest Plaque image. Click for full size.
By Ginger Drenning, August 23, 2009
3. Hillforest Plaque
away in Kentucky); Lochry's Defeat (approx. 2.2 miles away); A Historic Road Less Traveled (approx. 2.4 miles away); The Spirits of Lawrenceburg (approx. 3.7 miles away); James Buchanan Eads (approx. 3.7 miles away); Lawrenceburg (approx. 3.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Aurora.
 
Also see . . .
1. Official Web Site - - National Park Service::. This is their listing on the National Historic Landmarks Program.. Has many details. (Submitted on September 3, 2009, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana.) 

2. Hillforest Website::. A number of links - including a fine History and photos of Hillforest :: follow the links....! (Submitted on September 3, 2009, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana.) 
 
Categories. LandmarksNotable BuildingsNotable Places
 
Wide View - - Thomas Gaff House Marker image. Click for full size.
By Ginger Drenning, August 23, 2009
4. Wide View - - Thomas Gaff House Marker
Another Wide View - - Thomas Gaff House Marker image. Click for full size.
By Ginger Drenning, August 23, 2009
5. Another Wide View - - Thomas Gaff House Marker
Thomas Gaff House & Left Entry Post image. Click for full size.
By Ginger Drenning, August 23, 2009
6. Thomas Gaff House & Left Entry Post
Full View - - Thomas Gaff House Entry image. Click for full size.
By Ginger Drenning, August 23, 2009
7. Full View - - Thomas Gaff House Entry
Thomas Gaff House - " Hillforest " image. Click for full size.
By Ginger Drenning, August 23, 2009
8. Thomas Gaff House - " Hillforest "
Thomas Gaff House - - Is on A Hill..... image. Click for full size.
By Ginger Drenning, August 23, 2009
9. Thomas Gaff House - - Is on A Hill.....
Thomas Gaff House - Back " Veranda " image. Click for full size.
By Ginger Drenning, August 23, 2009
10. Thomas Gaff House - Back " Veranda "
Other Front View - - Thomas Gaff House image. Click for full size.
By Ginger Drenning, August 23, 2009
11. Other Front View - - Thomas Gaff House
Small Building - behind the Thomas Gaff House image. Click for full size.
By Ginger Drenning, August 23, 2009
12. Small Building - behind the Thomas Gaff House
Behind House - Above Ground Cellar (Food Storage & Storm Shelter) image. Click for full size.
By Ginger Drenning, August 23, 2009
13. Behind House - Above Ground Cellar (Food Storage & Storm Shelter)
View of Ohio River - - From the Thomas Gaff House.... image. Click for full size.
By Ginger Drenning, August 23, 2009
14. View of Ohio River - - From the Thomas Gaff House....
Another View of Ohio River - - From the Thomas Gaff House.... image. Click for full size.
By Ginger Drenning, August 23, 2009
15. Another View of Ohio River - - From the Thomas Gaff House....
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 3, 2009, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana. This page has been viewed 2,060 times since then and 102 times this year. This page was the Marker of the Week October 25, 2009. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15. submitted on September 3, 2009, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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