Introduction to West Lafayette, Indiana
The city of West Lafayette is located in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, roughly 65 miles northwest of the state capital of Indianapolis. It is separated from its neighboring city of Lafayette by the Wabash River. The city is the proud home of Purdue University, which was established in 1869. The nearby town of Battle Ground (located 10 miles to the northeast) was the site of the famous Battle of Tippecanoe in 1911. Highways servicing the city of West Lafayette include U.S. Routes 52 and 231, and Indiana state highways 26, 43, 443, and 526.
When it received its charter in 1867, the name of the town was Chauncey, named after a family of wealthy land speculators from Philadelphia who had purchased land in the area. In 1888, the town voted to change its name to West Lafayette. Although for several years the town lagged behind its neighbor Lafayette in development, the presence of Purdue University slowly enhanced the town's growth, and by the 1940s West Lafayette had evolved into a full-fledged suburban city. Today, the university employs 12,000 people, most of whom live in either West Lafayette or Lafayette.
Points of Interest in West Lafayette
In addition to Purdue University, West Lafayette is home to a wide variety of historical, cultural, and recreational sites. In particular, the community is proud of its civic theater, symphony orchestra, Bach Chorale, and museums. Other notable attractions in or near the city include the following:
- Fort Ouiatenon: An historical park which is the site for the annual Feast of the Hunter's Moon
- Historic Five Points Fire Station Museum: A fire station restored to its circa-1937 heyday
- Riverside Skating Center: Open year-round for ice, inline and roller skating
- Moses Fowler House: An English Gothic style home built in the mid-19th century by cattle baron Moses Fowler
- Red Crown Mini Museum: A unique Standard Oil service station built in 1928
- Tippecanoe Battlefield & Museum: Located at the site of The Battle of Tippecanoe
- Wabash & Erie Canal Interpretive Center: An interactive museum which describes the building of the Canal and its effect on Indiana
- Imagination Station: A hands-on family science center with interactive exhibits
- Purdue University Horticulture Gardens
- Tippecanoe County Courthouse
- Columbian Park and Zoo
- Great Skates Fun Center and Laser Tag
- Silent Thunder Indoor Go-Kart and Amusement Center
- Tropicanoe Cove Family Aquatic Center
- Wolf Park
West Lafayette is a big college sports town, due to the presence of the Purdue University Boilermakers athletic teams. Members of the Big Ten Conference since 1896, the Boilermaker football squad has claimed seven Conference Championships, and two of their teams have earned berths in the Rose Bowl. Altogether, 18 varsity teams compete in a variety of Purdue sports with many of the teams nationally ranked.
The city of Indianapolis is located about an hour away, and is home to some notable professional sports teams. Major league action is available to basketball fans and football fans, who can enjoy the NBA's Indiana Pacers and the NFL's Indianapolis Colts, respectively. Fans of women's pro basketball can see the WNBA's Indiana Fever. Minor league action can be found in the sports of baseball and hockey. The Indianapolis Indians are a Minor League Baseball Class-AAA affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the Indiana Ice is a local entry in the United States Hockey League. Last but not least, auto racing fans can look forward to Memorial Day weekend, when racing's crown jewel, the Indianapolis 500, takes place in Speedway, Indiana (located just outside the Indianapolis city limits).