Embark on an enlightening exploration of astonishing facts about Greater Lafayette. Uncover surprising details that will leave you amazed and intrigued. Discover the hidden stories that make Greater Lafayette a truly unique and surprising destination.

  • Did you know Purdue created the whitest paint and it appears in the Guinness Book of World Records? In an effort to curb global warming, Xiulin and his team created the whitest white acrylic paint - and now, it has earned a Guinness World Records™ title. The ultra-white paint, which reflects 98.1% of sunlight and deflects infrared heat, could dramatically reduce or even eliminate the need for air conditioning in some regions.
  • Since 1929, West Lafayette's Triple XXX (named for the house brand of root beer) has been serving up the best old-fashioned burgers and fries around. Featured on Guy Fieri's Food Network series Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. 
  • Did you know that the Wabash & Erie Canal that passed through Lafayette was the second largest canal in the world? The only one longer was the Grand Canal of China. 

Wabash & Erie Canal Park

  • Did you know that Annie Ellsworth sent the first telegraph message of “What hath God wrought?” at the request of Samuel Morse and then moved to Lafayette the next year? 
  • Did you know that the Purdue University Airport was the first university-owned airport in the nation?
  • Did you know that there is a Lincoln plaque outside of the Civic Theatre in Lafayette? Lincoln stopped here on his way to the presidential inauguration. Lincoln’s funeral train also went through the same tracks. 
  • Did you know that Lafayette hosted Indiana’s second annual state fair on the grounds near present day Fourth and Kossuth Streets? About 60,000 people attended the event. 
  • Did you know that there have been three major train tragedies that all occurred on October 31 throughout the years either in Tippecanoe county or involving people associated with Purdue University? The first one happened in 1864 and involved a head on collision involving a passenger train packed with Civil War soldiers rolling north for Chicago and a cattle train from Lafayette Southbound for Indy. The second one happened in 1893 at the same spot on the railroad tracks as the first accident and the spot earned the title as “Dead Man’s Curve.” The third accident in 1903 involved the Purdue University football team’s special train when it was traveling to a game against the Indiana University team. The crash happened in Indianapolis and killed 17 and injured 34 that were on the train.
  • Did you know that William Digby purchased the land that now makes up Lafayette in 1824 for $1.25 an acre and sold it for $240? He owned the town for 3 days. 
  • Did you know Lafayette is named after the Marquis de Lafayette, the French Revolutionary War hero?
  • Did you know that John Purdue, was born on October 31, 1802?

Purdue University John Purdue Winter

  • Did you know that John Purdue was a school teacher, owner of a farm brokerage business, and owner of a general merchandise store before he founded Purdue University? Here are some more fun facts about John Purdue:
    • Had 4 older sisters and 4 younger sisters but no brothers. 
    • Born in his family’s cabin on a slope of Black Log Mountain in a German-Speaking rural valley near Shirleysburg, PA
    • The name Purdue is said to be traceable in England back to the late 1500s. 
    • Astute, conservative, impeccably honest retail and wholesale dry goods merchant. 
    • When young, family moved to Adelphi in south-central Ohio.
    • He began school at the age of eight but had to drop out at age twelve to help support his family as a hired worker. 
    • At the age of 21 for about $10 a week, he took up school teaching in Circleville, OH (about 25 miles south of Columbus, OH).
    • One of his pupils was a farmer’s boy, Moses Fowler. 
    • In 1832 at the age of 30 he bought at 160-acre farm northwest of Columbus, OH for $900, paid half up front, farmed it for a year and sold it for $1200. From that venture and others to follow, Purdue enlarged his farm-products brokerage business to cover central Ohio. 
    • 1833- He invited Moses Fowler to join him in opening a general merchandise store in Adelphi. 
    • In 1834, a customer, probably to settle a debt, sold Purdue 240 acres in Indiana. (Level, tillable acreage he bought was on the east side of what is now Creasy Lane in Lafayette). Purdue rented the land to tenants for 23 years and then sold it at a profit. One tenant was named McCarty and that is how the public east-west path by the land acquired the name McCarty Lane. 
    • John Purdue offered $150,000 of his own money and 100 acres of land for Indiana’s Land Grant University to be here in West Lafayette. He also received $50,000 in pledges from prominent Lafayette citizens. Established in 1869.
  • Did you know that George Winter is buried in Greenbush Cemetery? His tombstone is decorated with a palette and brushes.
  • Did you know that William Henry Harrison fought in the Battle of Tippecanoe?

Tippecanoe Battlefield