An early settler in 1882, William Smith came to this area from Scotland. He bought land around Sixth and Peoria. Seeing the need for a school, he donated land and garnered support from other community members. The Aurora Central Grade School was built in 1892 on the current site of Crawford Elementary. (For history of the Crawford site, click here.)
Later, he asked the Arapahoe County School Superintendent to start a school district in our area. This was the beginning of the Aurora Public Schools System. (For history of the Board of Education, click here.)
Smith served on the school board for 50 years. Aurora's first high school built in 1931 was named after him. (For history of Aurora high schools, click here.) That early building is still in use as part of the West Middle School campus. His name also appears on the APS William Smith Alternative High School.
Special thanks for research done by former APS Principal John Dale
William Smith: An Historic Journey