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Aurora was founded in the late 19th century as the town of Fletcher, after businessman Donald Fletcher saw it as a real estate opportunity. He and his partners bought 4 square miles of land east of Denver, but the town after the Silver Crash. During that time, Fletcher left town, leaving the community with an enourmous water debt. Inhabitants decided to rename the town Aurora and it began to grow in Denver's shadow as the fastest-growing city in the US during the late '70s.
Although long considered to be one of Denver's larger suburbs, Aurora's growing population in recent decades has led to efforts for equal recognition with Denver. Former mayor Champine once expressed that the area would be called the "Aurora/Denver Metropolitan Area". Since the 2000 Census, Aurora has surpassed Denver in land area. Much of Aurora is undeveloped, while Denver is more built-out. However, such efforts are somewhat hindered by the lack of a large central business district. Aurora is largely suburban in character, with only a modest collection of tall buildings.