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1911 Encyclopedia Britannica


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A city and the county-seat of Tippecanoe county, Indiana, U.S.A., situated at the former head of navigation on the Wabash river, about 64 m. N.W. of Indianapolis. Pop. (1900) 18,116, of whom 2266 were foreign-born; (1910 census) 20,081. It is served by the Chicago, Indianapolis & Louisville, the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St Louis, the Lake Erie & Western, and the Wabash railways, and by the Terre Haute, Indianapolis & Eastern (electric), and the Fort Wayne & Wabash Valley (electric) railways. The river is not now navigable at this point. Lafayette is in the valley of the Wabash river, which is sunk below the normal level of the plain, the surrounding heights being the walls of the Wabash basin. The city has an excellent system of public schools, a good public library, two hospitals, the Wabash Valley Sanitarium (Seventh Day Adventist), St Anthony's Home for old people and two orphan asylums. It is the seat of Purdue University, a co-educational, technical and agricultural institution, opened in 1874 and named in honour of John Purdue (1802-1876), who gave it $150,000. This university is under state control, and received the proceeds of the Federal agricultural college grant of 1862 and of the second Morrill Act of 189c; in connexion with it there is an agricultural experiment station. It had in 1908-1909 180 instructors, 1900 students, and a library of 25,000 volumes and pamphlets. Just outside the city is the State Soldiers' Home, where provision is also made for the wives and widows of soldiers; in 1908 it contained 553 men and 700 women The city lies in the heart of a rich agricultural region, and is an important market for grain, produce and horses. Among its manufactures are beer, foundry and machine shop products (the Chicago, Indianapolis & Louisville railway has shops here), straw board, telephone apparatus, paper, wagons, packed meats, canned goods, flour and carpets; the value of the factory product increased from $3,514,276 in 1900 to $4,631,415 in 1905, or 31.8%. The municipality owns its water works.

Lafayette is about 5 m. N.E. of the site of the ancient Wea (Miami) Indian village known as Ouiatanon, where the French established a post about 1720. The French garrison gave way to the English about 1760; the stockade fort was destroyed during the conspiracy of Pontiac, and was never rebuilt. The head-quarters of Tecumseh and his brother, the "Prophet," were established 7 m. N. of Lafayette near the mouth of the Tippecanoe river, and]the settlement there was known as the "Prophet's Town." Near this place, and near the site of the present village of Battle Ground (where the Indiana Methodists now have a summer encampment and a camp meeting in August), was fought on the 7th of November 1811 the battle of Tippecanoe, in which the Indians were decisively defeated by Governor William Henry Harrison, the whites losing 188 in killed and wounded and the Indians about an equal number. The battle ground is owned by the state; in 1907 the state legislature and the United States Congress each appropriated $12,500 for a monument, which took the form of a granite shaft 90 ft. high. The first American settlers on the site of Lafayette appeared about 1820, and the town was laid out in 1825, but for many years its growth was slow. The completion of the Wabash and Erie canal marked a new era in its development, and in 1854 Lafayette was incorporated.

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Bibliography Information
Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Lafayette'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. 1910.

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