Lafayette Information

History, education and agriculture come together in Lafayette, Ind., a city of 70,000 located 60 miles northwest of Indianapolis. The greater Lafayette area includes the smaller city of West Lafayette, the home of Purdue University, one of 11 major research universities in the Midwest that comprise the Big Ten.

History abounds in Lafayette, which was founded in 1825. The city takes its name from General Lafayette, a French aristocrat and military officer who served with George Washington when he commanded the U.S. military forces in the American Revolution.

Lafayette is the county seat of Tippecanoe County, an area with a rich historical legacy. Just to the north of the city is the Tippecanoe Battlefield, site of the battle between American military forces and Native Americans opposed to the country's ongoing westward expansion. The American forces were led by William Henry Harrison, governor of the Indiana Territory. Harrison was triumphant in winning the battle. His nickname became "Tippecanoe." He ran for president in 1840 with William Tyler as his running mate for vice president. A popular slogan during the campaign was "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too." Harrison was elected in 1840 and inaugurated on March 4, 1841. He died of pneumonia a month later. That remains today the shortest term of office in American presidential history.

Other attractions include the Ninth Street Hill Historic District and one of the oldest Jewish synagogues in the United States. The stately Tippecanoe County Courthouse in downtown Lafayette, built in 1881, is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Lafayette and Tippecanoe County are located in a rich agricultural area. Purdue University serves as a major research facility for agricultural and scientific academic programs. The university is a city unto itself with an enrollment of 40,000 students. The campus hosts events and activities throughout the year, ranging from cultural events to lectures to symposiums.

The Purdue athletic teams were nicknamed the Boilermakers in 1891 when a newspaper in Crawfordsville, Ind., used the term when describing the football team's defeat of Wabash College. The nickname was picked up by the Lafayette newspapers, and the team became known as the Boilermakers.

The Boilermaker mascot is a popular sight along the sidelines of Big 10 football games each autumn at Ross-Ade Stadium on the Purdue campus. The stadium draws crowds of 70,000. The Purdue basketball teams compete in the winter months at Mackey Arena.