West Lafayette and Lafayette, two cities separated by the Wabash River, are generally considered to be one metropolitan area. The name Lafayette originated in honor of French military hero General Gilbert du Motier, marquis de Lafayette. Known simply as General Lafayette, he aided the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.
In 1717, the French government created Fort Ouiatenon after explorers discovered the area. It would later become two cities – West Lafayette and Lafayette. The Feast of the Hunters’ Moon is an annual celebration commemorating the area’s founding, including reenactments of the fall gathering of Native Americans and Frenchmen at Fort Ouiatenon. Since 1826, Lafayette has served as the County Seat of Tippecanoe County, crowned by the ornate and historic County Courthouse on the Lafayette Public Square.
Interestingly enough, Lafayette was the site of the first ever airmail delivery on August 17, 1859, when John Wise piloted a hot air balloon from the grounds of the Lafayette court house en route to New York.
Purdue University is officially located in West Lafayette but both cities’ economies are largely influenced by the university’s presence, with residents of both cities employed by Purdue. Additionally, Purdue Research Park, a research facility and business infrastructure park located in West Lafayette and owned by the University’s nonprofit funding and technology licensing arm, employs even more residents.
Boilermaker pride is all over Purdue’s campus, and there are plenty of things to see and do for all ages. From fountain runs to football games, it will not be hard to make the most of your time on campus by seeing all that Purdue has to offer!
Lafayette and West Lafayette are definitely not the biggest of cities in the Big Ten, but they are still full of fun things to do! Be ready to have all sorts of experiences when you visit Lafayette and West Lafayette. From historical sites to trendy boutiques, there is sure to be something to peak everyone’s interests!