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Historic Structures of

Lafayette, Indiana

Commercial Structures

Lafayette (pop. 43,764) is the seat of Tippecanoe Co. in West central Indiana on the Wabash river.

Incorporated in 1853, Lafayette is a commercial and manufacturing center located in the middle of a farm region. Manufactured materials include sheet metal, processed food, automobiles, truck trailers, paints, aluminum products, and engines. Purdue University is nearby, in West Lafayette.

According to Indiana Business magazine, "Preserving and renewing vintage Lafayette tops the agenda on the east side." The first new downtown hotel in decades, the $12 million Holiday Inn Select Center City, is being built with an historic look. Things may be looking good for historic architecture too. According to the magazine: "In the works is a renovation of a 1939 movie theater by Deco Entertainment Inc., to be reopened as a movie/dinner theater."

New development in a city can be a good thing if it reverses urban decay and a bad thing if it's simply seen as a way to "get rid of old buildings."

Historic Structures of Lafayette, Indiana - Commercial Buildings - David E. Ross Building,

 David E. Ross Building,


308 Main St.

This commercial building is an example of the Gothic Revival style of architecture. Characterized by pointed arches and ribbed vaulting, Gothic Revival stemmed from a movement of the 18th and 19th centuries aimed at reviving the spirit and forms of Gothic architecture.

Lafayette, Indiana -   McHugh-Trueblood Building

  McHugh-Trueblood Building, 1876

424 Columbia

Italianate. Fashionable in England and the U.S. in the 1840's and 1850's, this style is characterized by low-pitched, heavily-bracketed roofs, and round-arched windows.


Lafayette, Indiana - Perrin Building, 1877

Perrin Building, 1877

330 Main St.

Another example of the Italianate sytle.


Lafayette, Indiana - Lafayette Life Building

 Lafayette Life Building, 1918

3rd & Main

Three-Part Vertical Block. This was the dominant style of tall buildings of the period. The facade is divided into three main "zones" that, though separated, are nevertheless closely related to one another.


Lafayette, Indiana -  Mars Theatre, 1921

 Mars Theatre, 1921

111 N. 6th St.

This is a two-part commercial block building, the most common form of architecture for small and moderate-sized commercial buildings in the United States. The style is characterized by a horizontal separation into two distinct zones that, though separated, are nevertheless closely related visually to one another.


Lafayette, Indiana - 1st Merchant's Nat'l Bank

1st Merchant's Nat'l Bank, 1918

316 Main St.

The building is an example of the Vault style of architecture, which communicates massiveness, stability and enclosure (a commonly-used and fitting architectural style for banks). The effect is somewhat reminiscent of the fortified complexes of ancient times. In some examples of vault architecture, the character is inspired by Renaissance Italy or 18th-century France.

Generally two to three stories high, the vault has a facade penetrated by a large, tall and generally narrow central opening, and occasionally smaller ones on either side.


Lafayette, Indiana - Carnahan-Ross-Kaplan Building

Carnahan-Ross-Kaplan Building, 1862

622 Main St.

Two-part commercial block

These photos are courtesy of the photographer, Mike Habeck ( Mike is with EcoIndiana and, in addition to being concerned about historic architecture, is also looking out for the state's natural environment. Our thanks to Mike for sharing these photos with us.

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