Lafayette Indiana History
When it comes to history in Lafayette and West Lafayette, Indiana there is a lot of ground to cover - literally. The two cities are 27.74 square miles total, and home to over 70,000 people (not including students at Purdue University).
History - In 1825 the town of Lafayette was officially platted by William Digby. One year later it was recognized as the county seat of Tippecanoe County. Like many cities - Lafayette was named after a French Officer (General Lafayette) who helped George Washington's Army during the Revolutionary War.
Before European Explorers arrived - Lafayette was home to the Miami Indian Tribe also known as the Weas or Ouiatenon. Fort Oiuatenon was established along the Wabash River by the French government in 1717. The fort became a trade center for merchants and Indians. Each year Lafayette has a festival known as Feast of the hunter's Moon to reenact how the fort used to be.
In the early days, Lafayette was a shipping center located on the Wabash. Henry Leavitt Ellsworth - The very first Patent Commissioner in the United States - published a book about the Wabash River and Lafayette to promote settlement in the area.
In 1845 Ellsworth purchased over 90,000 acres of farmland in Lafayette and the surrounding communities. He then moved to the area to manage land sales. The real estate developer was selling his land to local farmers and eventually became president of the Tippecanoe County Agricultural Society. Ellsworth Historic District and Ellsworth Street are both named after him to this day.
Purdue University was founded in 1869 thanks to John Purdue who donated money and land to start the university. The first classes at Purdue took place in 1874 and included 39 students along with 6 instructors.
Today the university offers more than 175 majors to undergrads and over 60 masters and doctoral programs. However it is most famous for it's respected engineering programs. Purdue is currently ranked in the top 5 US colleges for the amount of international students that are enrolled.
The Purdue Men's and Women's college basketball teams have consistently put West Lafayette, Indiana on the map. This season the men's basketball team was ranked 3rd in the nation for a few weeks! Currently they are in the NCAA tournament as a number 2 seed and have hopes of winning the National Championship.
Fun facts about Lafayette, Indiana -
Kirby Parker has lived in West Lafayette since 2001 and has been selling residential real estate at Keller Williams Realty for the last 12 years.