History and Festivals Abound in Fascinating Lafayette
From Educational Attractions to Fun Festivals, There Is Something for Everyone In Lafayette
Today, Lafayette is a flourishing city of over 60,000 residents, which boasts a research university, a community college, three libraries, and, of course, plenty of places to shop and eat.
Lafayette also has a long history of trade and industry. The French Government established Fort Ouiatenon in 1717, and the Fort quickly became a popular trading post. Merchants, Indians, and Fur Trappers all established a brisk trade at the fort. Then, in 1825, William Digby planned Lafayette to be the new Tippecanoe County's county seat. Even in its earliest days, the town was a busy shipping center. Shortly after, a Yale-educated attorney named Henry Leavitt Ellsworth took an interest in the area and actively promoted agricultural growth, buying parcels of land, and selling them to farmers.
The arrival of the Wabash & Erie Canal and the Monon Railroad encouraged further development, and Lafayette became a booming center of trade. The town was even the launch site of the first attempted air mail delivery – by hot air balloon – in 1859.
With so much history in the city, it is not surprising that there are many historical sites you can visit:
- Fort Ouiatenon, which was the first European fortified settlement in Indiana. There was a substantial French settlement in the area before the fort passed to the British, and then to the Indians. It was destroyed in 1791 during the Northwest Indian War. In 1930 a physician named Richard Wetherill built a replica of the original fort. Today it is a museum and the site of the annual Feast of the Hunters' Moon.
- The Headstone of Martin P. Jenners, a civil war veteran who was an outspoken atheist. The headstone is unusual in that Jenners had it made and placed in the cemetery 14 years before his death. The inscription makes clear his feelings: It reads, "My only objection to religion is that it is not true. No preaching, no praying, no psalm singing on this lot." It drew many curious visitors when it was first placed there and is still an interesting stop for any history lover.
- Prophet's Rock, where the Shawnee spiritual and political leader Tenskwatawa stood to receive a vision of how his people should proceed in action against military leader William Henry Harrison. Today the site is reached by an invigorating hike.
Lafayette’s Name Honors an Influential Man
Lafayette was named for a man with an exceptionally long and interesting name: Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de La Fayette. It is no wonder that he is usually known by his surname, Lafayette. Lafayette was a French aristocrat and military commander. He is known as the Hero of Two Worlds for his actions during the Revolutionary War, including:
- Taking military action that trapped the British near the York River when the French Fleet arrived, which was instrumental in the French fleet winning the Battle of the Virginia Capes.
- Leading a company of 400 men to take Redoubt 9 (a redoubt is a kind of fort.) This action, combined with Alexander Hamilton's forces' successful taking of Redoubt 10, led to the breaking of the British defenses and the British General Charles Cornwallis's surrender.
- Engaging in the negotiations leading up to the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1783. The Treaty of Paris signaled the official end of the Revolutionary War.
- Working to establish trade between France and the United States, and campaigning for the end of slavery and the freeing of slaves.
- Participating in peace talks with the Iroquois in Mohawk Valley, NY.
Lafayette was such a popular figure that when he returned to the United States from France in 1784 – 1785, he undertook a countrywide tour and visited every single state, receiving a warm welcome in each.
Get into The Festival Mood
Lafayette hosts several popular festivals throughout the year. If you can time your visit to coincide with one, they make for fun memories. Why not check out one of these:
- A Taste of Tippecanoe is a must for food lovers! Every year 40,000 visitors descend on Lafayette to sample the best local food and beverages, including a hog roast, traditional Indian food, Fruitshine wines, and shaved ice. Art, music, and fireworks keep the festival spirit going all day long.
- The Feast of the Hunters' Moon is a festival and historic re-enactment weekend that has taken place in Lafayette every year since 1968. The festival takes place at Fort Ouiatenon and recreates the annual fall gathering between the Native Americans and the French, which took place in the eighteenth century.
- The Greater Lafayette Mini Maker Faire showcases creations and inventions from curious minds! The organizers call it the "greatest show and tell on earth." Engineers and scientists, artists, and crafters all gather to show what they are making and inspire visitors.
Other popular festivals include Beer Across the Wabash, Mosey Down Main Street, Art in the Park, Hands-on Transportation, and Round The Fountain Art Fair.
Water Damage Is Nothing New in Lafayette
Lafayette is no stranger to water damage. In 1913 Tippecanoe County was battered by wind and rainstorms that led to extensive flooding, causing lots of property damage and claiming 152 lives. Bridges were damaged or swept away, and life in the area suffered severe disruption.
Even today, despite millions of dollars spent on drainage, regular flooding is still a problem in Lafayette. Should you need water damage repair in your home, SERVPRO is here to help.
Our dedicated technicians have a range of equipment on hand to mitigate water damage. We use free-standing and truck-mounted pumps to extract as much water as possible before we begin drying your home. We use thermo hygrometers and moisture meters to monitor the drying process and ensure we leave your abode looking "Like it never even happened."
Our team understands that you are worried about your belongings and your home, which is why we clean, dry, and restore as many items as possible. We can also take care of mold treatment, if necessary, to reduce the risk of fungal growth following water damage, and we deodorize your home to leave it smelling fresh.
Should you need assistance with water damage repair, call SERVPRO of Lafayette at (765) 420-0077.