Lafayette is a home rule municipality in the south-eastern part of Boulder County, Colorado. In the 2010 United States Census, the city of Lafayette had a population of 24,453 people.
Lafayette is located at 39°59′42″N 105°6′2″W and is bordered to the north by Erie, to the east by the city of Broomfield and Louisville to the southwest. Lafayette has a total area of 9.3 square miles, of which 0.15 square miles is water. Lafayette sits at an elevation of 1,588m above sea level.
History of Lafayette
Mary E. Miller was responsible for founding the city of Lafayette in 1888 when she filed the initial Town of Lafayette plat and sold the very first residential lot. The Town of Lafayette would later be incorporated in February of 1889. Mary Miller had initially moved into the area with her husband Lafayette Miller and purchased farmland. In 1884, coal deposits were discovered on the farm, and coal mining soon began. Mary Miller would later, in 1888, designate 37 acres of the farm to Lafayette, which is named after her husband. Due to the increase in coal mining activities in the area, Lafayette quickly grew to become a part of the coal mining boom experienced in Weld County and eastern Boulder. Lafayette was a booming town and became one of the premier towns in America to have distributed grids powered by the Interurban Power Plant, which also served Fort Collins, Boulder and Louisville.
Lafayette’s growth was not without its challenges, as frequent strikes by the United Mine Workers negatively impacted the town and even led to the closure of Lafayette Bank in 1914 due to bad loans.
Coal mining declined in Lafayette from the 1930s as natural gas became a preferred alternative to coal as an energy source. The closure of the Black Diamond mine in 1956 signalled Lafayette’s return to agriculture.
After the end of the coal mining era and a return to agriculture, Lafayette experienced residential growth. The residential growth in Lafayette caused a shift from a farm-based economy to a commercial economy as more businesses began opening in the area. Lafayette is now a thriving city with a thriving business and residential community.
Recreation in Lafayette
Locals and visitors to Lafayette have limitless options for recreation ranging from cultural attractions, annual fairs and festivals, and natural and historical attractions. Some of the things you can do in Lafayette for entertainment include;
- Indian Peaks Golf Course – It is an 18-hole and par-72 facility that plays to just slightly above 7000 yards from the longest tees. The course has options that cater for all ages and skill levels. The course has stunning views, changes in elevation and well-planned water and sand hazards to spice up your tee times. If you are into golfing, you should book your tee time well in advance to access peak times.
- Waneka Lake Park – For those that love the great outdoors, this park is a must-visit. Waneka Lake Park is a popular attraction located just outside Lafayette. The park has a large lake, pedal-powered boats are available to rent, and kayakers often come to enjoy themselves in the lake. Around the lake is a path that offers a unique viewpoint for birdwatchers.
- Ras Kassa’s Ethiopian Kitchen – The relatively close distance between Lafayette and the University of Colorado means a diverse population and different cultures in the area. This restaurant offers Ethiopian cuisine, including exotic spices and vegetables and the widely popular injera bread, and is worth a visit if you are looking to try something new.
- Lafayette Peach Festival – This seasonal fruit festival is held in mid-August, and visitors can expect to consume lots of fresh fruit, ice cream, pies and salads. There are plenty of kid’s events, making it a good option for a family excursion.
- Lafayette Brew Fest – This festival has been around for six years and is one of the most anticipated among the residents of Lafayette. The festival is hosted in the downtown area at Festival Plaza in mid-September. The festival brings together over twenty local breweries offering a wide selection of beer to visitors, live entertainment, and great food.
- Lafayette Oatmeal Festival – The town of Lafayette has been hosting this festival annually for nearly a quarter of a century. The festival kicks off in mid-January with an oatmeal breakfast. The festival also features a 5K run that is family-friendly with a walking option which is a cheap and fun way of spending your mornings
- Downtown Aquarium – This aquarium is located on Water Street in Denver, close to Lafayette. The most popular attractions are the aquatic critters housed in breath-taking aquariums and exhibits that allow for interaction. This attraction is a good option for kids as it stimulates their young minds.
Schools in Lafayette
The public schools in Lafayette are a part of the Boulder Valley School District, with the main public high school in the area being Centaurus High School. Some of the other schools in the area include;
- Peak to Peak Charter School
- Angevine Middle School
- Pioneer Academy
- Alexander Dawson School
Living and working in Lafayette
The residents of Lafayette enjoy a huge variety of properties, beautiful scenery, good transport infrastructure, and a strong education system. The most popular neighbourhoods in the area are;
- Indian Peaks Real Estate
- Waneka Lake Real Estate
- Blue Heron Real Estate
- Spring Creek Real Estate
Lafayette offers many employment opportunities to its residents and a good working and business environment. Some of the largest employers in the area are;
- The Stepping Stones Group
- Dawson School
- Exempla Good Samaritan Medical Centre
- TRU Community Care