AURORA'S OLD MILL: FINAL LOSS
Residents and preservation groups strongly protested the LLC's proposed placement of a large commercial dock on the property line of the village park and nearly on top of the remains of the 1815 Aurora Steam Grist Mill.
National Trust for Historic Preservation
NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation
Preservation League of New York State
The Aurora Coalition, Inc.
Nevertheless, a "conditional permit" was issued by the Army Corps of Engineers.
The country's first steam flour mill west of the Hudson River, Aurora's Old Mill entered the National Register of Historic Places before the creation of our historic district in 1980.
The splendid three-story stone structure (see photo at right) was largely intact in 1992 when Wells College began to demolish it in order to build a dock behind the Aurora Inn.
Thanks to protests by reisdents, demolition was halted that same day. The college had no demolition permit, lacked required approvals from the DEC and the Army Corps of Engineers, and failed to submit to a fedeerally mandated Section 106 Review.
A decade after tragically and severely damaging this National Register building while ignoring federal law, the same developer in a new guise tried to move ahead again with the project. The Aurora Foundation LLC (a partnership of Wells College and Pleasant Rowland) included a dock in the same spot as part of its 2001 Inn/Market plan, but withdrew that part of the proposal to avoid a Section 106 preservation review of the entire project.
Having sucessfully evaded a Section 106 Review of the Inn/Market project (in violation of the Historic Preservation Act of 1966), the LLC reintroduced the dock proposal in 2004 and applied for permits. The Army Corps issued conditional permits and construction began in the winter of 2005. The Army Corps failed to consider damage the new dock -- inches away from the Old Mill -- would inevitable inflict onthe historic ruins.