The five white crosses commemorating the lives lost at the Henry Pratt Company on February 15, 2019, when a disgruntled employee opened fire in the offices and warehouse, will be on display once again at the Aurora Historical Society during the month of February.
The crosses, made by Greg Zanis of Aurora, who became famous for the 20,000 crosses he built for victims of violence around the country, were first displayed in the spring of 2019, following the shootings, and then again in February 2020, the first anniversary of the shootings.
This year’s display will be different, however, because the Pierce Art and History Center is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The artifacts, which will include not just the crosses, but a selection of items from the sidewalk memorial that grew up outside the Pratt building, will instead be displayed in the windows of the historical society’s gift shop. Although the public will not be able to go inside the building, the exhibit can be viewed from the sidewalk. It will be on display from Feb. 5 to Feb. 28, 2021.
The society also maintains numerous videos of the first anniversary exhibit, including the original song “Aurora Strong” by local singer-songwriter Bradley Green, and television coverage featuring Chief of Police Kristen Ziman, Mayor Richard Irvin and Fire Chief Gary Krienitz. All are online at this page of the Aurora Historical Society website.
The memoir of crossmaker Greg Zanis, who died on May 4, 2020, is also available on the website.
In addition, the gift shop windows will feature a display of historical photos of the African American community in Aurora, ranging from individuals from the Civil War era through Aurora’s first African American mayor, Richard Irvin, elected in 2017. The exhibit coincides with Black History month.
The Pierce Art and History Center is located at 20 E. Downer Place, 60505.
SOURCE: Aurora Historical Society news release