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Lafayette, Indiana

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lafayette, Indiana
Downtown Lafayette and the Riehle Plaza & CityBus depot (2011)
Downtown Lafayette and the Riehle Plaza & CityBus depot (2011)
"Star City"
Location of Lafayette in Tippecanoe County and the state of Indiana
Location of Lafayette in Tippecanoe County and the state of Indiana
Coordinates: 40°25′2″N 86°52′43″W / 40.41722°N 86.87861°W / 40.41722; -86.87861
CountryUnited States of America
TownshipsFairfield, Perry, Sheffield, Wea
Founded byWilliam Digby
Named forGeneral Lafayette
 • TypeMayor/Council
 • MayorTony Roswarski (D)
 • Land29.38 sq mi (76.1 km2)
 • Water0.13 sq mi (0.3 km2)
 • Metro
904.6 sq mi (2,343 km2)
Elevation692 ft (211 m)
 • City67,140
 • Estimate 
 • Density2,441/sq mi (942/km2)
 • Metro
Time zoneUTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP code
47901, 47904, 47905, 47909
Area code(s)765
Interstate Highways I-65
U.S. Highways
Major State Roads
WaterwaysWabash River
AirportsPurdue University Airport
(West Lafayette)
Public transitCityBus
FIPS code18-40788[4]
GNIS feature ID[5]437501

Lafayette (/ˌlɑːfˈɛt,ˌlæf-/ LAH-fee-ET, LAF-ee-ET) is a city in and the county seat of Tippecanoe County, Indiana, United States,[5][6] located 63 miles (101 km) northwest of Indianapolis and 105 miles (169 km) southeast of Chicago. West Lafayette, on the other side of the Wabash River, is home to Purdue University, which contributes significantly to both communities. Together, Lafayette and West Lafayette form the core of the Lafayette, Indiana Metropolitan Statistical Area.

According to the 2010 United States Census, the population of Lafayette was 67,140, a 19% increase from 56,397 in 2000. Meanwhile, the 2010 Census pegged the year-round (excluding Purdue University students) population of West Lafayette at 29,596 and the Tippecanoe County population at 172,780.[7]

Lafayette was founded in 1825 on the southeast bank of the Wabash River near where the river becomes impassable for riverboats upstream, though a French fort and trading post had existed since 1717 on the opposite bank and three miles downstream. It was named for the French general Marquis de Lafayette, a revolutionary war hero.


General Lafayette, 1792
General Lafayette, 1792
This panoramic map illustrates a bird's-eye view of Lafayette in 1868.
This panoramic map illustrates a bird's-eye view of Lafayette in 1868.

When European explorers arrived at this area, it was inhabited by a tribe of Miami Indians known as the Ouiatenon or Weas. In 1717, the French government established Fort Ouiatenon across the Wabash River and three miles (5 km) south of present-day Lafayette. The fort became the center of trade for fur trappers, merchants and Indians. An annual reenactment and festival known as Feast of the Hunters' Moon is held there each autumn.[8]

The town of Lafayette was platted in May 1825 by William Digby, a trader. It was designated as the county seat of the newly formed Tippecanoe County the following year. Like many frontier towns, Lafayette was named for General Lafayette, a French officer who significantly aided George Washington's Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. Lafayette toured the United States in 1824 and 1825.[9]

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 titled 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 (380 km2) of farmland around Lafayette and moved there from Connecticut to supervise land sales.[10] By 1847 Ellsworth was distributing broadsides looking for farmers to purchase his farmland.[11] He became president of the Tippecanoe County Agricultural Society in April 1851 – despite some local resentment over what was called "the Yale Crowd" – but he was defeated the same year when he ran for the Indiana House of Representatives.[12] Ellsworth Street and Ellsworth Historic District are named for him.[13]

The Wabash and Erie Canal in the 1840s stimulated trade and affirmed Lafayette's regional prominence. Railroads arrived in the town in the 1850s, connecting it with other major markets. The Monon Railroad connected Lafayette with other sections of Indiana.

Lafayette was the site of the first official airmail delivery in the United States on 17 August 1859, when John Wise piloted a balloon starting on the Lafayette courthouse grounds. Wise hoped to reach New York; however, weather conditions forced the balloon down near Crawfordsville, Indiana, and the mail reached its final destination by train. In 1959, the US Postal Service issued a 7¢ airmail stamp commemorating the centennial of the event.[14]

In 1992, the Greater Lafayette area (Lafayette and West Lafayette) was the first place in Indiana to experience the internet during the initial college town connection launching.[citation needed]


Lafayette is located at 40°24′38″N 86°52′29″W / 40.410585°N 86.874681°W / 40.410585; -86.874681 (40.410585, −86.874681)[15] and is located in Fairfield and Wea Townships. Elevation at the court house is 550 feet (168 m), but city elevations range from a little over 500 feet (150 m) at the Wabash River to approximately 700 feet (210 m) in the areas of Murdock Park and Columbian Park.

According to the 2010 census, Lafayette has a total area of 27.74 square miles (71.85 km2), all land.[16]

Climate and weather

In recent years, temperatures in Lafayette have ranged from an average low of 17 °F (−8 °C) in January to a high of 86 °F (30 °C) in July, although a record low of −33 °F (−36 °C) was recorded in January 1985 and again in January 1994; and a record high of 105 °F (41 °C) was recorded in June 1988. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 1.58 inches (40 mm) in February to 4.24 inches (108 mm) in June.[17]

Climate data for Lafayette, Indiana
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 69
Average high °F (°C) 31.6
Average low °F (°C) 14.3
Record low °F (°C) −33
Average precipitation inches (mm) 1.91
Average snowfall inches (cm) 6.5
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 9.6 7.7 10.2 10.9 10.6 10.4 8.9 8.4 7.6 8.3 9.8 10.1 112.5
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 5.3 3.3 1.7 0.3 0 0 0 0 0 0.1 0.9 3.5 15.1
Source 1: The Weather Channel (January record high)[18]
Source 2: NOAA[19]


Location of the Lafayette-Frankfort CSA and its components: .mw-parser-output .legend{page-break-inside:avoid;break-inside:avoid-column}.mw-parser-output .legend-color{display:inline-block;min-width:1.25em;height:1.25em;line-height:1.25;margin:1px 0;text-align:center;border:1px solid black;background-color:transparent;color:black}.mw-parser-output .legend-text{}  Lafayette Metropolitan Statistical Area   Frankfort Micropolitan Statistical Area
Location of the Lafayette-Frankfort CSA and its components:
  Lafayette Metropolitan Statistical Area
  Frankfort Micropolitan Statistical Area
Broadside advertising sale of 200-acre farms, Lafayette, Indiana, 1847
Broadside advertising sale of 200-acre farms, Lafayette, Indiana, 1847

Lafayette is the larger principal city of the Lafayette-Frankfort CSA, a Combined Statistical Area that includes the Lafayette metropolitan area (Benton, Carroll, and Tippecanoe counties) and the Frankfort micropolitan area (Clinton County),[20][21][22] which had a combined population of 212,408 at the 2000 United States Census.

2010 census

As of the 2010 United States Census,[3] there were 67,140 people, 28,545 households, and 15,863 families in the city. The population density was 2,420.3 inhabitants per square mile (934.5/km2). There were 31,260 housing units at an average density of 1,126.9 per square mile (435.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 74.2% White, 11.2% African American, 0.4% Native American, 1% Asian, 0.0% from other races, and 2.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 16.3% of the population.

There were 28,545 households, of which 29.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.7% were married couples living together, 13.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.2% had a male householder with no wife present, and 44.4% were non-families. 34.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 3.00.

The median age in the city was 31.9 years. 23.8% of residents were under the age of 18; 12.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 29.9% were from 25 to 44; 22.2% were from 45 to 64, and 11.3% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.7% male and 51.3% female.

2000 census

View of Lafayette from Main Street Bridge
View of Lafayette from Main Street Bridge

As of the 2000 United States Census, there were 56,397 people, 24,060 households, and 13,666 families 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 per square mile (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 individuals and the average family size was 2.98.

The city population contained 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 – elected in a citywide vote – and a city council of nine members. Six are elected from individual districts; three are elected at-large.

Tippecanoe County Courthouse
Tippecanoe County Courthouse




K-12 public education in Lafayette is provided by the Lafayette School Corporation. The Tippecanoe School Corporation also administers county schools nearby. New Community School was a tuition-free elementary charter school (sponsored by Ball State University) located on the north side of Lafayette that permanently closed at the end of 2016.[23] Beacon Academy is a charter school located in West Lafayette.


Public library

The Lafayette area has three branch locations of the Tippecanoe County Public Library:[25]

  • Downtown Library[26]
  • Wyandotte Branch[27]

News and media


  • Journal & Courier. The newspaper, which serves the Greater Lafayette area, has its newsroom and offices located in downtown Lafayette. Journal & Courier also has its own printing services for itself and other papers in the region on the eastside of Lafayette.
  • Purdue Exponent. Purdue University's independent student newspaper serves Purdue, West Lafayette, and Lafayette, and has its newsroom and offices located off campus on Northwestern Avenue in West Lafayette.
  • The Lafayette Leader


From 1953 until the 2016 launch of WPBI-LD, WLFI-TV had been the only "Big Three" (ABC, CBS and NBC—or, including Fox, "big four") commercial network television broadcaster in the Lafayette market. With the 2017 launch of WPBY-LD, local broadcasts of all "big four" networks became available.[29][30]

WRTV, WTHR, WTTV, and WXIN, the respective ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox affiliates in Indianapolis which had been carried by cable and satellite providers in the Lafayette market as "out-of-market" stations, remain viewable in the area via a large over-the-air antenna or, in some cases, via a subscription satellite or streaming service. Cable provider Comcast Xfinity discontinued its remaining carriage of Indianapolis-based "big four" stations on March 7, 2018,[31] but resumed carriage of WTHR and WRTV two days later.[32]

Commercial Radio Stations

Non-commercial Radio Stations


Sagamore Parkway (as seen from West Lafayette)
Sagamore Parkway (as seen from West Lafayette)
Railway station
Railway station


No airports are located within Lafayette city limits. The nearest general aviation airport is Purdue University Airport (LAF) in West Lafayette. The nearest commercial airport which currently has scheduled airline service is Indianapolis International Airport (IND), located approximately 60 miles (97 km) southeast of Lafayette in Indianapolis.



Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides passenger rail service to Lafayette through the Cardinal to Chicago, Washington D.C., and New York City. Norfolk Southern; CSX; Kankakee, Beaverville and Southern Railroad; and Toledo, Peoria and Western Railway (RailAmerica) provide freight rail service. Many lines that originally passed through the downtown were redirected in the mid-1990s to a rail corridor near the Wabash River.[33][34]

Bus service



Much of the area's economy centers around the academic and industrial activities of Purdue University, although private industry and commerce independent of the university also exist in the community, with multiple large manufacturing operations in the city employing thousands of workers. Some examples:

Arts and culture

Main St.
Main St.

Arts organizations

Fairs and festivals

Population history

Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)71,721[36]6.8%
Source: US Census Bureau

Notable people from Lafayette

For notable residents associated with Purdue University, see List of Purdue University people.



Business, law, politics

Academic, science, technology


Points of interest

Clegg Botanical Garden
Clegg Botanical Garden
Purdue University
Purdue University

Prophet's Rock

10 minutes North of Lafayette lies Prophet Rock, where the Prophet Tenskwatawa, the half brother of Tecumseh, stood watch encouraging the local Shawnee Native Americans to fight against the encamped army forces of William Henry Harrison in the Battle Of Tippecanoe in 1811. Tenskwatawa was a spiritual leader, but not a military man. His brother was out of town as the U.S. Army forces marched North, with hopes to destroy Prophetstown. Tenskwatawa had sought to have a meeting with Harrison to discuss how to avoid going to war. In the evening before the war, he sought a spiritual vision that led him to believe that Harrison must be assassinated. Early in the morning of November 6, the warriors attacked Harrison's militia and war ensued. The warriors fell weak in supplies against the militia, and succumbed. Prophetstown was taken over where the militia stole supplies and burnt it down. The rock where Tenskwatawa stood still stands over the battlefield, though now covered with much taller trees. The rock can be accessed by scaling its front or by hiking the ridge that leads to the top.[41]

Headstone of Martin P. Jenners

The Martin Jenners headstone is at the Spring Vale Cemetery in Lafayette.[42] Jenners was a Civil War veteran[43][44][45] who was known as the first white person born in Tippecanoe County and as an outspoken atheist.[46] Originally located in Greenbush Cemetery,[47] his headstone is unique because he had it placed in the cemetery fourteen years before his death, with this inscription: "My only objection to religion is that it is not true. No preaching, no praying, no psalm singing on this lot." Jenners' headstone cites two verses that contradict each other, hence making the Bible untrue: I Corinthians 15:52, which talks about believers being raised from the dead "in a twinkling of an eye", and Isaiah 26:14, which states "They are now dead, they live no more; their spirits do not rise." The headstone received national attention at the time, despite attempts to have it removed, and it continued to draw visitors from around the country.[48][49] Jenners' headstone inscription has been cited by believers as an example of Bible writings being taken out of context.[50][51][52]

Tombstone of Martin P. Jenners. Spring Vale Cemetery, Lafayette
Tombstone of Martin P. Jenners. Spring Vale Cemetery, Lafayette

Notable buildings


Sister cities

Lafayette has two sister cities as designated by Sister Cities International.[53][54]

See also


  1. ^ "2019 US Gazetteer Files". US Census Bureau. Retrieved July 16, 2020.
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". US Geological Survey. 25 October 2007. Retrieved 31 January 2008.
  3. ^ a b "US Census website". US Census Bureau. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
  4. ^ "US Census website". US Census Bureau. Retrieved 31 January 2008.
  5. ^ a b "Lafayette, Indiana". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  6. ^ Smith 3, Fletcher (2014). "Find a name". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 7 June 2011.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "Lafayette IN – QuickFacts". US Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 26 September 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  8. ^ "Feast of the Hunters' Moon". Tippecanoe County Historical Association. Archived from the original on 20 June 2009. Retrieved 1 June 2009.
  9. ^ "Lafayette History". Home Of Purdue. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  10. ^ A Day in the Life of Tippecanoe County Archived 6 September 2006 at the Wayback Machine, Tippecanoe County Historical Association
  11. ^ Guide to the Henry Leavitt Ellsworth Papers, Yale University Library
  12. ^ A Day in the Life of Tippecanoe County, Tippecanoe County Historical Association Archived 6 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ First Air Mail Flight Archived 18 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". US Census Bureau. 12 February 2011. Retrieved 23 April 2011.
  16. ^ "Geographic Identifiers – 2010 Census Summary File 1". US Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 13 February 2020. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  17. ^ "Monthly Averages for Lafayette IN". The Weather Channel. Retrieved 27 January 2011.
  18. ^ "Monthly Averages for Lafayette IN (47905)". The Weather Channel. Retrieved 19 November 2011.
  19. ^ "Climatology of the United States No. 20: Lafayette 8 S, IN 1971–2000" (PDF). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 19 November 2011.[permanent dead link]
  20. ^ Metropolitan Statistical Areas and Components Archived 26 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Office of Management and Budget, 11 May 2007. Accessed 1 August 2008.
  21. ^ Micropolitan Statistical Areas and Components Archived 29 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Office of Management and Budget, 11 May 2007. Accessed 1 August 2008.
  22. ^ Combined Statistical Areas and Component Core Based Statistical Areas Archived 29 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Office of Management and Budget, 11 May 2007. Accessed 1 August 2008.
  23. ^ New Community School Closed (12 December 2016)
  24. ^ Central Catholic Schools (
  25. ^ "Home- Tippecanoe County Public Library". Tippecanoe County Public Library. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  26. ^ "Downtown Library - Tippecanoe County Public Library". Tippecanoe County Public Library. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  27. ^ "Wyandotte Branch - Tippecanoe County Public Library". Tippecanoe County Public Library. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  28. ^ "Klondike Branch - Tippecanoe County Public Library". Tippecanoe County Public Library. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  29. ^ "Lafayette, Ind. Gets Its Own ABC Affiliate". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved May 25, 2017.
  30. ^ "WPBI begins news broadcast, launches ABC affiliate". Journal & Courier. Retrieved May 30, 2017.
  31. ^ "Comcast kills last of Indy stations from Lafayette's cable lineup". Journal & Courier. Retrieved March 8, 2018.
  32. ^ "Comcast: Indianapolis broadcast stations back … at least for now". Journal & Courier. Retrieved March 9, 2018.
  33. ^ Amtrak in Lafaytte IN (1994) gregarnst
  34. ^ Amtrak in Lafaytte IN (May 1995) gregarnst
  35. ^ Online Live Bus timings updates Archived 17 March 2013 at the Wayback Machine, 11 May 2007.
  36. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". US Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  37. ^ imdb page of Tammy Lynn Michaels
  38. ^ Home Page: Ken Navarro Archived 8 February 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  39. ^ imdb page of Victor Potel
  40. ^ "Eric Bruntlett Stats". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  41. ^ "Prophet's Rock". Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  42. ^ Horror in the Heartland
  43. ^ "The Civil War: Jenners, Martin P." National Park Service. Retrieved January 12, 2015.
  44. ^ "76th Regiment, Indiana Infantry (30 days, 1862)." [1] Retrieved January 13, 2015.
  45. ^ "76th Regiment." [2]
  46. ^ "Oldest White Child Born in Lafayette Found Dead." The Indianapolis Star, December 23, 1919. Retrieved January 16, 2015.
  47. ^ "Object to epitaph he has carved on headstone - says the Bible is fiction." The Indianapolis News, September 2, 1905. Retrieved November 26, 2014.
  48. ^ "Tombstone Says Bible is False." Syracuse Telegram and Courier, September 29, 1905. Retrieved January 16, 2015.
  49. ^ Jensen, Laurie. "Early Settler's Last Words Continue to Draw a Crowd." Archived 18 January 2015 at Retrieved January 16, 2015.
  50. ^ Stone, Perry. "Using the Wrong Sword for the Wrong Battle." Retrieved November 22, 2014.
  51. ^ Stone, Perry. Secrets From Beyond the Grave. Lake Mary, FL: Charisma House, 2010. ISBN 1616381574. Google Books. Retrieved November 22, 2014.
  52. ^ Stone, Perry. There's a Crack in Your Armor. Lake Mary, FL: Charisma House, 2014. ISBN 1621362485. Google Books. Retrieved November 22, 2014.
  53. ^ "2018 Annual Report and Membership Directory" (PDF). Sister Cities International. p. 47. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  54. ^ "Interactive City Directory". Sister Cities International. Archived from the original on 16 August 2016. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
  55. ^ アメリカ合衆国インディアナ州グレイターラフィエット [Greater Lafayette, Indiana, United States of America] (in Japanese). City of Ōta, Gunma. Retrieved 20 June 2016.

External links

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