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What is Roycroft? It was a handicraft community founded in East Aurora, NY about 1895 by Elbert Hubbard. Hubbard had been a very
successful soap salesman for J. D. Larkin and Co. in Buffalo, but wasn't satisfied with his life. So in 1892,
he sold his interests in the company and briefly enrolled at Harvard. Disenchanted, he quickly dropped out and
set off on a walking tour of England. He briefly met William Morris and became enamored of Morris' Arts-and-Crafts Kelmscott Press.
Upon his return to America, he tried to find a publisher for a series of biographical sketches he had written called "Little Journeys."
When he was unsuccessful in his attempts to have someone else publish the works, he decided to print them himself. Thus the Roycroft
Press was born. Hubbard proved to be such a prolific and popular writer that fame and fortune soon followed. The print shop expanded and then
visitors began coming to East Aurora to see this extraordinary man. Initially, visitors were housed in the printworker's living quarters,
but this arrangement soon proved inadequate. A hotel was built to house the ever increasing number of visitors. The inn had to be furnished
so Hubbard had local craftsmen make a simple, straight lined style of furniture. The furniture became popular with visitors who wished to
buy pieces for their homes. A furniture manufacturing industry was then born. In addition, Roycroft craftspeople were skilled metalsmiths,
leathersmiths, and bookbinders.
The community flourished and was at its peak in 1910 with over 500 workers. By 1915, Hubbard and the Roycrofters (as the workers were
known) had achieved great success. Not only had Elbert written the inspirational pamphlet, A Message to Garcia, with an estimated printing
of 40 million copies, but he was also publishing monthly magazines, The Fra and The Philistine. This was all in addition to an almost
constant nationwide lecture series and the monthly publication of additions to the original Little Journeys series that started it all.
It all changed when Elbert and his wife, Alice, were among the fatalities onboard the Lusitania. The Hubbards had been traveling to
England to begin an lecture tour when they died. The Community's leadership then fell to Elbert's son, Bert. Though Bert took the
Roycrofters to wider sales distribution, changing American tastes led to slowly declining sales figures. Finally, in 1938 the
Roycrofters closed shop.
Today, items that were produced by the Roycrofters are highly sought after by collectors. In addition to the collectabilty of the items,
examples of Roycroft bookbinding, metalsmithing, and furniture-making are sought simply because of their inherent beauty and craftsmanship.
Millard Fillmore House
The Aurora Historical Society, through a public fund raising campaign, acquired the Fillmore House in 1975 and began returning it to circa 1826.
No actual records have been found for the exact 1826-1830 period.
Therefore, they drew on recollections of older citizens who had been in the house when children and recalled its floor plan
and interior details and also on a 1910 newspaper photo story about it
Not knowing the original outside color, they used the results of research done at Mumford (Genesee County Village near Rochester, N.Y.)
in selecting exterior colors in keeping with the 1826 period.
Interior colors are matched to any of the original ones uncovered during restoration work.
The house now typifies a small frame dwelling of the Federal Period with much of Millard Fillmore's hand labor in it.
There is an attempt to furnish it with authentic Fillmore or period pieces that guides will point out to visitors.
It all started in 1930, during the midst of the Great Depression when Robert S. Vidler, Sr. opened his
5 & 10 in the quaint village of East Aurora. Despite the nay-sayers who took bets that the store wouldn't last a year,
the store survived and prospered! Today, this third generation family business still maintains the character and
charm it has always had and is now ten times the size of the original store!
Vidler's 5 & 10 occupies four connected, vintage 1890 buildings on two levels (that's over 15,000 square feet of retail space!)
on East Aurora's historic Main Street. Vidler's could quite possibly be the largest 5 & 10 you'll ever visit!
Your visit to East Aurora would not be complete without a visit to this historic treasure.
In 2005, East Aurora
welcomed over 100,000 people from all over the world to join in the 20th
celebration of Toyfest.
ToyFest is a three day celebration of the history of toy heritage in Western
New York and particularly the historic village of East Aurora.
ToyFest transforms the village into a picture of small town America
celebrating one of everyone's most favorite things-TOYS. The giant 2 hour
parade, car show, antique toy show, and kid's rides in the park are just a few
of the many exciting activities which have thrilled children of all ages for the
past 17 years.
All ToyFest activities are free of charge except for the concession stands
and the rides in the park. ToyFest benefits the Toy Town Museum, a
Main Street/Street Fair-Main Street in East Aurora has long been the site of
a great deal of excitement during ToyFest. The annual Car Show, on Sunday; Giant
Parade on Saturday; Antique Toy Show and sale on Sunday, and more are joined
together with wandering entertainers, Animal alley, food courts and Games for
kids. The Street Fair is fun throughout the weekend.
The firing of the candy cannon signals the start of the festivities Friday evening.
If you’re a toy collector, you’ll love the antique toy show and sale. Each year, a limited-edition commemorative toy is reproduced just for ToyFest.
Collectors from all over the world anxiously await the announcement of what early Fisher-Price toy will be honored that year.
The parade down Main St. is not to be missed – it features giant Fisher-Price toys as floats and has been known to last up to two hours!
A favorite destination is “KidSpace.” Fisher-Price employees have a blast each year putting their talents to work creating a wonderful place where kids come to play with toys and join in imaginative activities. We add unique touches each year so the experience is always different. Employee volunteers are on hand all weekend to make sure everyone’s having lots of Fisher-Price fun!
There’s also an annual car show, rides and games for kids, entertainment and plenty of food for all.
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