Aurora lies about 23 miles southwest of Hawthorne, NV.
Some prospectors looking for water and game discovered gold and silver quartz ledges here in 1860. A rush incurred and the town of Esmeralda sprang up. A few months later Aurora, named for the goddess of the dawn, was laid out in grid fashion a mile west.
In 1861 an 8-stamp mill was erected. Aurora now had a population of 2000 and Wells Fargo was hauling gold out of Aurora on a regular basis. By 1863 the population approached 10,000.
Aurora was claimed by both Nevada Territory and California. In 1861, the California legislature created Mono County and fixed the seat in Aurora. The following November Nevada declared Aurora the headquarters of Esmeralda County. This double-county-seat status lasted nearly two years, until surveyors fixed the border 4 miles west in 1863.
Sam Clemens (aka Mark Twain) mined for gold here in 1862, and worked as a laborer in a stamp mill for $10 a week plus board.
In 1869 the surface bonanzas were exhausted, after yielding over $29 million.
Another boom occurred in 1870, which lasted until 1882. The post office was closed in 1897.