Platted in 1825 by trader William Digby, the original town was only sixteen square blocks. Thanks to its location at the northernmost navigable point on the Wabash River, and its transportation ties to the Wabash and Erie Canal and multiple rail lines the small town grew rapidly throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Lafayette has a diverse and unique collection of buildings dating from the mid 1800s to contemporary time. Examples of remaining early architecture include the John Purdue Block located at 6-12 2nd Street. John Purdue, the namesake of Purdue University, built the original row of twelve units for his business block in 1845. Four of the original twelve bays remain and now house a popular downtown bar and several office suites.  The large arched windows on the west side of the building were used to load and unload merchandise on the Wabash & Erie Canal.    

Other notable buildings in the downtown area include 536 Main Street (Built in the late 1860s, the second empire style building has served as the location of McCord’s Candies since 1912), 330 Main Street (Built in 1877, and featuring a cast iron façade, the former location of the Perrin Hardware Company has ties to the Perrin neighborhood – both bear the same family name) and the Big Four Depot, constructed in 1902 and moved to its current location at Riehle Plaza in 1994.

The most spectacular and imposing piece of downtown architecture is the Tippecanoe County Courthouse. Built between 1881 and 1884, courthouse is actually the third built on the same location. The building style is Eclectic with a strong Second Empire influence.


Red DoorFamily on Bridge

Downtown and the courthouse square host a variety of activities and festivals throughout the year including Dancing in the Streets, the Taste of Tippecanoe, Downtown Gallery Walks, Round the Fountain Art Fair, Uptown Jazz & Blues Fest, Art on the Wabash Fair, Octoberfest, Dickens of a Christmas, OUTfest and Mosey Down Main Street to name a few. Full a listing of downtown events, venues and festivities, visit xxx• xxx•

explore the Downtown’s Plaque Properties
name address built


Alward—Lafayette Conservatory of Music—
Fitzgerald House
717 Columbia Street 1863  
Ankeny—McCuaig House 904 South Street 1882 1997
Ball Building 527-533 Main Street 1867 1994
Big Four Depot 200 N. 2nd Street 1902 1991
Brown—Feuer (O.L. Clark) Building 426-430 Main Street 1837 1999
Carnahan—Ross—Kaplan Building 622 Main Street 1892 1991
Christian Emdee House 712-714 South Street 1854 1999
Clark—Clawson Building 434-436 Main Street 1858 1998
Coleman—Stallard & Schuh Building 301 Columbia Street 1872 1991
David E. Ross Building 308 Main Street 1918 1991
Douglas—Lafayette Street Railway—
Madison Building
901 Main Street 1869  
Earl & Hatcher Block 8 N. 3rd Street 1865 1995
Falley Townhouses 620-622 South Street 1892 1993
First Merchants National Bank—
Girardot, Strauch & Co. Building
316 Main Street 1918 1992
Fowler National Bank—
 National Bank—INB National Bank
337 Columbia Street 1926 1992
Gaylord—Reifers House 12 N. 8th Street 1916 1999
Handly—Sharp—DRTW Building 117 N. 4th Street 1875 1991
Heath—Pearlman Building 210-216 N. 5th Street 1863 1996
John Purdue Block 14 N. 2nd Street 1845 1990
Lafayette Life Building 300 Main Street 1918 1990
Lafayette Printing Company 511 Ferry Street 1921 1991
Lafayette Theater 600 Main Street 1938


Mars Theatre—
Long Center for the Performing Arts
111 N. 6th Street 1921


McHugh—Trueblood Building 424 Columbia Street 1876


Orpheum Theater 638 Main Street 1914


Painters & Decorators Building 217 N. 6th Street 1920


Perrin Building 330 Main Street 1877


Ruger—Dewenter—IDC Building 416 Main Street 1862 1991
Second National Bank—
Heath—Henderson—Ross—Cole Building
848 Main Street 1873 1998
Second Presbyterian Church—
Central Presbyterian Church
701 Columbia Street 1895  
Sharp Block 514-518 Main Street   2003
Sportsman—Hirsch Brothers—
Shook Agency Building
427 Main Street 1923  
Spring, Emerson & Co. Building 14 N. 3rd Street 1878 2000
The Cracker Factory 216 N. 6th Street 1888 2007
The Rapp Co.—Vancalin—Duffy Building 309 Columbia Street 1881 1993
Tippecanoe County Courthouse 305 Main Street 1882 1992
Thomas Duncan Memorial Hall 619 Ferry Street 1930 1992
Vater—Wilmes Building 10 N. 4th Street 1866-1879 1991
Weigle Townhouse 927 Main Street 1899 1995
Wells Medicine Building 120 N. 3rd Street 1872 1991