In August 1860, gold and silver were discovered by a prospecting party traveling south, and a rush quickly ensued to the fledgling camp of Esmeralda. Nearby, the camp of Aurora also emerged and soon overtook the original. An eight-stamp mill was completed in 1861, and by May some 2000 people had arrived. Buildings of brick and stone were quickly being erected, and for a while the prospering town was the subject of a dispute between the Nevada Territory and California; California insisted that Aurora was within its boundaries and it served as the Mono County seat, while Nevada simultaneously claimed it as the seat of Esmeralda County. This lasted for two years, until the "Sage Brush Survey" was conducted and determined that Aurora was indeed in Nevada, and Mono County's records were soon relocated to Bridgeport.

By summer 1863, Aurora had a population of nearly 10,000, with some twenty stores and saloons, a dozen hotels, two newspapers, and sixteen mills with a combined two hundred stamps. A year later, however, high rates of inflation and speculation and an overestimation of ore values caused Aurora's bubble to burst. By 1865, half of the population had left. By 1869 surface deposits were exhausted after over $29 million in production, and Aurora continued its decline. A brief revival began in the late 1870s when ore was discovered at Bodie, but this ended by 1882. In 1883, the county seat was lost to Hawthorne, and by 1897 the post office closed.

Around 1905, a new revival began, and in 1906 Aurora regained its post office, several businesses, a few hundred residents, and a new weekly paper - the Aurora Borealis. This revival gradually gained traction, culminating in the construction of the 500-ton Aurora Consolidated Mill in 1914. The operation lasted through World War I, with over $1.8 million in production before its closure in 1918. By 1919, Aurora was again a ghost. Several impressive buildings remained standing making Aurora a popular tourist attraction for nearly three decades, before they were finally dismantled for their bricks in 1946 following World War II. As a result, little remains at the townsite proper, though impressive cemeteries and mill ruins remain in the area (the large foundations of the Aurora Consolidated Mill can be found on the Mangum page).

Aurora District
MangumDel Monte