West Lafayette, Indiana: Wikis


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City of West Lafayette, Indiana
—  City  —
Coordinates: 40°26′31″N 86°54′45″W / 40.44194°N 86.9125°W / 40.44194; -86.9125Coordinates: 40°26′31″N 86°54′45″W / 40.44194°N 86.9125°W / 40.44194; -86.9125
Country United States
State Indiana
County Tippecanoe
Township Wabash
Incorporated 1888
 - Mayor John Dennis (R)
 - City 5.5 sq mi (14.3 km2)
 - Land 5.5 sq mi (14.3 km2)
 - Water 0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
 - Metro 904.6 sq mi (2,342.9 km2)
Elevation [1] 614 ft (187 m)
Population (2000)
 - City 28,778
 - Density 5,219.6/sq mi (1,962.3/km2)
 - Metro 182,821
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 47906
Area code(s) 765
FIPS code 18-82862[2]
GNIS feature ID 0445775[3]
Website http://www.city.west-lafayette.in.us/
Chauncey Village area of West Lafayette

West Lafayette (pronounced /ˌwɛst ˌlɑːfiˈɛt/) is a city in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, United States, 65 miles (105 km) northwest of Indianapolis. Named in honor of General Lafayette, a French military hero who fought with and significantly aided the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War.

The 2000 Census enumerated 28,778 residents in West Lafayette, making it the most densely populated city in Indiana. It is located across the Wabash River from Lafayette, Indiana and is home to Purdue University. West Lafayette is part of the Lafayette, Indiana Metropolitan Statistical Area.



The original "West Lafayette" was laid out by Augustus Wylie in 1836 and located in the Wabash River floodplain south of the present Levee. Due to regular flooding of the site, Wylie's town was never built. The present city was formed in 1888 by the merger of the adjacent suburban towns of Chauncey, Oakwood, and Kingston, located on a bluff across the Wabash River from Lafayette, Indiana. [4] The three towns had been small suburban villages which were directly adjacent to one another. Kingston was laid out in 1855 by Jesse B. Lutz. Chauncey was platted in 1860 by the Chauncey family of Philadelphia, wealthy land speculators. Chauncey and Kingston formed a municipal government in 1866 which selected the name “Chauncey.” [4]

The new town of Chauncey remained a small suburban village until Purdue University opened in 1869. In 1871 Chauncey voted to be annexed by Lafayette because it was unable to provide the infrastructure (improved streets, waterworks, police and fire protection). Lafayette voted against annexing Chauncey because of the high cost of the many improvements that the village lacked.[5] By the time of West Lafayette’s formation in 1888, the growth of the university was fueling the growth of the little town. The address of Purdue University was given as "Lafayette, Indiana" until well into the twentieth century. West Lafayette never gained a railroad depot and lagged several years behind Lafayette in the establishment of municipal infrastructure and services. However, by the 1940s, West Lafayette had emerged as an independent suburban city.


West Lafayette is located at 40°26′31″N 86°54′45″W / 40.441935°N 86.912409°W / 40.441935; -86.912409 (40.441935, -86.912409)[6] and overlooks the Wabash River, which borders the city on the east and south. It occupies Wabash Township and has an elevation that ranges from a little over 500 feet near the river to more than 720 feet in northern parts of the city near U.S. Route 52.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.5 square miles (14.3 km2), of which, 5.5 square miles (14.3 km2) of it is land and 0.18% is water.


As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 28,778 people, 10,462 households, and 3,588 families residing in the city. The population density was 5,219.6 people per square mile (2,016.6/km2). There were 10,819 housing units at an average density of 1,962.3/sq mi (758.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 83.34% White, 11.34% Asian, 2.38% African American, 0.16% Native American, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.17% from other races, and 1.58% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.20% of the population.[7]

There were 10,462 households out of which 14.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 27.6% were married couples living together, 4.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 65.7% were non-families. 32.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.89.

The age distribution is spread out with 10.4% under the age of 18, 54.6% from 18 to 24, 16.9% from 25 to 44, 10.3% from 45 to 64, and 7.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 22 years. This age distribution reflects the high percentage of Purdue University students living in the city. For every 100 females there are 133.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 137.2 males. The unusual sex distribution can also be explained by Purdue's presence; the school has large programs in several male-dominated academic fields such as engineering.

The median income for a household in the city was $24,869, and the median income for a family was $71,510. Males had a median income of $46,787 versus $30,218 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,337. About 9.5% of families and 38.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.5% of those under age 18 and 3.6% of those age 65 or over. However, traditional measures of poverty can be highly misleading when applied to communities with a large proportion of students, such as West Lafayette.


The city's elected officials consist of the mayor, the clerk-treasurer and a seven-member Common Council.

The mayor is the city's chief executive officer and chairs the Common Council and the Board of Public Works and Safety.

The clerk-treasurer serves as the finance officer of the city, the clerk of the city, and the court clerk.

The 7-member Common Council holds the city's legislative authority and makes the laws through ordinances, orders, resolutions and motions. The city is divided into 5 districts, and the Common Council consists of one council member from each district, plus two at-large council members. Elected by the council members, the president of the Common Council is first in the line of succession should the mayor not finish his or her term of office. He or she also presides over the council in the mayor's absence.

All city elected officials have term of office of 4 years with no limit on the number of terms. Regular elections for all offices are held at the same time in the odd year preceding the presidential election year.[8]


Purdue Engineering Campus, Fountain

West Lafayette is the home of Purdue University's main campus, with an enrollment of nearly 40,000 students.

The West Lafayette Community School Corporation administers three schools. Students attend Cumberland Elementary School through third grade, while students in grades 4-6 attend Happy Hollow Elementary School. Students in the 7th grade and above attend West Lafayette Junior-Senior High School. [9]

The Seventh-day Adventist Church operates Pleasantview SDA School which offers courses for grades K-8, and the Montessori School of Greater Lafayette teaches K-6. There are other schools, both public and private, that have a West Lafayette address, but these are actually located outside the city limits.

Approximately 77% of West Lafayette's population age 25 or older hold a bachelor's degree or higher according to the U.S. Census 2005-2007 American Community Survey. The city ranks sixth highest on this measure among U.S. municipalities between 20,000 to 65,000 population.[10]


The economy of West Lafayette is heavily influenced by the presence of Purdue University, with an enrollment of nearly 40,000, more than the city's population. The university employs 12,000 people, most of whom live in either West Lafayette or Lafayette.

The 725-acre Purdue Research Park, established in 1961, is home to more than 140 companies of which nearly 100 are technology related. As of 2009, these companies employ more than 3,000 [11]. The Park offers communications infrastructure, research facilities, a business incubation complex to help start-up firms and scenic walking trails and lakes. It is one of the largest university-affiliated research parks in the United States. The Purdue Research Park is owned by Purdue Research Foundation, the University's non-profit funding and technology licensing arm. Companies located in the Purdue Research Park include:

As of July 2006, the unemployment rate for the Lafayette Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes West Lafayette, is 4.5%.[12]

Wabash Landing

Commercial activities, however, take place mostly across the river in Lafayette. The largest commercial area in West Lafayette is the 90-acre Wabash Landing/Levee area, which has become a thriving urban-type district since the entire area was reconstructed and the Pedestrian Bridge to Lafayette replaced the old State Street bridge. The Levee features Wabash Landing which has shops, restaurants, coffee shops, a 9-screen movie theater, the Hilton Garden hotel, and the Riverside Skating Center.

News and media

West Lafayette residents use many of the news and media outlets located in its twin city of Lafayette. Media located in West Lafayette proper include:

  • The Purdue Exponent. Purdue University's daily independent student newspaper serving Purdue, West Lafayette, and Lafayette. Newsroom and offices located just off campus on Northwestern Avenue in West Lafayette.
  • Journal & Courier. The newspaper serves the Greater Lafayette area. The newsroom and offices are located on the East side of Lafayette.
  • WLFI-TV. Channel 18, a CBS affiliate
  • WBAA Radio. (920AM, 101.3FM), a National Public Radio affiliate with studios located on the Purdue University campus
  • WGLM Radio. (106.7FM)


Public transportation in West Lafayette is managed by the Greater Lafayette Public Transportation Corporation.





Bus Service

  • Express Air Coach (provides express shuttle service between Purdue University and Chicago's O'Hare Airport)
  • Lafayette Limo (provides express shuttle service to Indianapolis Airport)

Points of interest

Notable natives

For notable residents associated with Purdue University, see List of Purdue University people.
For notable natives from the neighboring city Lafayette, Indiana, see that page.

See also


  1. ^ "USGS detail on West Lafayette". http://geonames.usgs.gov/pls/gnispublic/f?p=gnispq:3:::NO::P3_FID:445775. Retrieved 2007-09-21.  
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. http://geonames.usgs.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  4. ^ a b "The History of West Lafayette". City of West Lafayette. http://www.westlafayette.in.gov/egov/docs/1225677108990.htm. Retrieved 2009-06-01.  
  5. ^ Robert Kriebel (1990). Old Lafayette volume 2: 1854-1876. Tippecanoe County Historical Association.  
  6. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. http://www.census.gov/geo/www/gazetteer/gazette.html. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  7. ^ "Census data for West Lafayette, Indiana". http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/SAFFFacts?_event=Search&geo_id=86000US47906&_geoContext=01000US%7C86000US47906&_street=&_county=west+lafayette&_cityTown=west+lafayette&_state=04000US18. Retrieved 2006-09-09.  
  8. ^ "West Lafayette City Code". http://ordlink.com/codes/westlaf/index.htm. Retrieved 2006-09-12.  
  9. ^ "West Lafayette Community School Corporation". http://www.wl.k12.in.us/.  
  10. ^ http://www.indystar.com/article/20090108/LOCAL/901080425
  11. ^ Purdue Research Foundation. "Purdue Research Park of West Lafayette". http://www.purdueresearchpark.com/parks/PRPWL.asp. Retrieved 2009-06-01.  
  12. ^ Indiana Workforce Development (press release dated August 23, 2006). "Preliminary State Unemployment Figures Released". http://www.in.gov/dwd/newsroom/news_releases/NR_08-23-06.pdf. Retrieved 2006-09-12.  

External links


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