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Lafayette ( ) is a city in Tippecanoe Countymarker, Indianamarker, U.S.marker, 63 miles (101 km) northwest of Indianapolismarker. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 56,397. The city is the county seat of Tippecanoe Countymarker . West Lafayettemarker, on the other side of the Wabash River, is home to Purdue Universitymarker, which has a large impact on both communities. Together, Lafayette and West Lafayette form the core of the Lafayette, IN Metropolitan Statistical Area, which, as of the 2000 census, had a total population of 183,340, the 215th largest metropolitan area in the United Statesmarker.


General Lafayette, 1792
The area around what is now Tippecanoe County was inhabited by a tribe of Miami Indians known as the Ouiatenon or Weas. The French government established Fort Ouiatenon in 1717 across the Wabash River and three miles (5 km) south of the location of present-day Lafayette. The fort became the center of trade for fur trappers, merchants and Indians. An annual reenactment and festival known as The Feast of the Hunters' Moon takes place there each fall.

Lafayette was platted by the river trader William Digby, in May 1825. The town was made county seat for the newly formed Tippecanoe Countymarker soon after in 1826. Like many small frontier towns, Lafayette was officially named for General Lafayette, a French military hero who fought with and significantly aided the American Army during the American Revolutionary War (September 6, 1757—May 20, 1834). Lafayette famously toured the United States during 1824 and 1825)

In its earliest days Lafayette was a shipping center on the Wabash River. In 1838, Henry Leavitt Ellsworth, the first United States Patent Commissioner, published a booklet called Valley of the Upper Wabash, Indiana, with Hints on Its Agricultural Advantages to promote settlement of the region. By 1845 Ellsworth had purchased 93,000 acres of farmland in Lafayette and the region and had moved from Connecticut to oversee land sales. By 1847 Ellsworth was distributing broadsides looking for farmers to purchase his farmland. He became president of the Tippecanoe County Agricultural Society in April 1851, despite some local resentment over what was called "the Yale Crowd," and he was defeated the same year in a run for the Indiana House of Representatives. Lafayette's Ellsworth Street and Ellsworth Historic District are named for the early real estate developer.

The Wabash and Erie Canal in the 1840s further cemented Lafayette's regional prominence, which was also escalated by the arrival of the railroads in the 1850s. The Monon Railroad connected Lafayette with other sections of Indiana.

Lafayette was the site of the first official air mail delivery in the United States, which took place on August 17, 1859, when John Wise piloted a balloon starting on the Lafayette courthouse grounds. Wise hoped to reach New Yorkmarker; however, weather conditions forced the balloon down near Crawfordsville, Indianamarker, and the mail reached its final destination by train. In 1959, the U.S. Postal Service issued a 7¢ airmail stamp commemorating the centennial of the event.

Modern history owes a fair debt to Robert Kriebel, a reporter since retired from the Journal & Courier newspaper. By way of his books and columns the curious are provided a convenient, accessible, and even colorful way to grasp the events around and preceding him. Old Lafayette in two volumes is highly recommended. For further reading, the curious might look into some other notable historians of Lafayette appearing below. These were compiled by Kriebel for his "short list" as provided in the Lafayette Bank & Trust's The Best of Lafayette (2000):Sandford C. Cox, Richard P. DeHart, Sallie Sample, Sarah M. Crockett, Thomas B. Helm, Jesse Henderson Levering, Paul K. Mavity, Logan Esarey, and Herbery H. Heimlich.


Lafayette is located at (40.410585, -86.874681) and lies in Fairfield and Wea Townships. Elevation at the court house is , but city elevations range from a little over at the Wabash River to approximately in the areas of Murdock Park and Columbian Park.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 20.1 square miles (52.0 km2), all of it land.


[[Image:Lafayette-Frankfort CSA.png|thumb|left|200px|Location of the Lafayette-Frankfort CSA and its components:
Lafayette is the larger principal city of the Lafayette-Frankfort CSA, a Combined Statistical Area that includes the Lafayette metropolitan area (Bentonmarker, Carrollmarker, and Tippecanoe counties) and the Frankfort micropolitan areamarker (Clinton Countymarker), which had a combined population of 212,408 at the 2000 census.

As of the census of 2000, there were 56,397 people, 24,060 households, and 13,666 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,806.5 people per square mile (1,083.9/km2). There were 25,602 housing units at an average density of 1,274.1/sq mi (492.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 88.91% White, 3.22% African American, 0.37% Native American, 1.22% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 4.61% from other races, and 1.62% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 9.11% of the population.

There were 24,060 households out of which 27.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.5% were married couples living together, 10.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.2% were non-families. 33.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.2% under the age of 18, 14.2% from 18 to 24, 31.3% from 25 to 44, 19.3% from 45 to 64, and 12.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 97.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $35,859, and the median income for a family was $45,480. Males had a median income of $32,892 versus $23,049 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,217. About 8.0% of families and 12.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.8% of those under age 18 and 4.6% of those age 65 or over.


The government consists of a mayor and a city council. The mayor is elected in citywide vote. The city council consists of nine members. Six are elected from individual districts. Three are elected at-large.




K-12 public education in the Lafayette area is provided by the Lafayette School Corporation.New Community School is a tuition-free elementary charter school (sponsored by Ball State Universitymarker) located in downtown Lafayette.



News and Media

  • Journal & Courier. The newspaper serves the Greater Lafayette area. The newsroom and offices are located on the East side of Lafayette.
  • Purdue Exponent. Purdue University's daily independent student newspaper serving Purdue, West Lafayette, and Lafayette. Newsroom and offices located just off campus on Northwestern Avenue in West Lafayette.
  • The Lafayette Leader


Commercial Radio Stations

Non-commercial Radio Stations





Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides passenger rail service to Lafayette through the Cardinal to Chicagomarker, Washington D.C.marker, and New York Citymarker. Norfolk Southern, CSX, Kankakee, Beaverville and Southern Railroad, and Toledo, Peoria and Western Railway (RailAmerica) provide freight rail service. Many of the rails lines that originally passed through the downtown were redirected in the mid-1990s to a rail corridor near the Wabash River.

Bus Service


Much of the economy of the city of Lafayette and the surrounding area is centered around the academic and industrial activities of Purdue Universitymarker. The university and its associated businesses employ the largest portion of the Lafayette workforce. However, private industry and commerce independent of the university also exist in the community. Some notable examples include:

Notable residents and natives

For notable residents associated with Purdue Universitymarker see List of Purdue University people



  • Bob Friend RHP for Pittsburgh Pirates
  • Ray Ewry - Ten-time Olympic champion
  • Bernard "Bernie" Flowers - Purdue All American and NFL Baltimore Colts 1950s, born in the Cleveland area, made Lafayette home
  • Dustin Keller - New York Jets NFL Tight end and Lafayette Jefferson High School graduate
  • Chuckie Nwokorie - NFL defensive player and Lafayette Jefferson High School graduate
  • George Souders - Won the Indianapolis 500marker during his rookie season in 1927
  • William Fritz Afflis - Wrestled as Dick the Bruiser from 1950s to 1980s and Lafayette Jefferson High School graduate
  • Eric Bruntlett - Philadelphia Phillies infielder
  • Clayton Richard - San Diego Padres pitcher
  • Erik Sabel - Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher
  • Todd Dunwoody - MLB player for The Florida Marlins, The Chicago Cubs, The Kansas City Royals, and The Cleveland Indians. He is currently a batting coach for The Arizona Diamondbacks.

Business, law, politics

Academic, science, technology

Floyd Loop, MD - Former President and CEO of the Cleveland Clinic

Local civic organizations

Points of interest

Notable buildings

Community Events

See also


Image:Lafayette skyline from West Lafayette.png|Lafayette skyline from West LafayetteImage:Tippecanoe courthouse 7-2004.jpg|The Court House - Downtown


  1. A Day in the Life of Tippecanoe County, Tippecanoe County Historical Association
  2. Guide to the Henry Leavitt Ellsworth Papers, Yale University Library
  3. A Day in the Life of Tippecanoe County, Tippecanoe County Historical Association
  4. During the period of Ellsworth's residence in Lafayette, two of his children came to national attention. His son Henry William Ellsworth was confirmed as United States chargé d'affaires at Stockholm, Sweden, in January 1846, and Ellsworth's daughter Annie suggested the words of the first telegraph message sent by her father's friend Samuel F. B. Morse in May 1844.
  5. First Air Mail Flight
  6. METROPOLITAN STATISTICAL AREAS AND COMPONENTS, Office of Management and Budget, 2007-05-11. Accessed 2008-08-01.
  7. MICROPOLITAN STATISTICAL AREAS AND COMPONENTS, Office of Management and Budget, 2007-05-11. Accessed 2008-08-01.
  8. COMBINED STATISTICAL AREAS AND COMPONENT CORE BASED STATISTICAL AREAS, Office of Management and Budget, 2007-05-11. Accessed 2008-08-01.
  9. Amtrak in Lafaytte, Indiana 1994 gregarnst
  10. Amtrak in Lafaytte, Indiana May 1995 gregarnst

External links

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