When town founder Mary Miller attached street names to her newly-created Town of Lafayette, she did so in pairs and in an anti-alcohol state of mind. Her initial 37-acre, 1888 platting of the town featured eight streets that were named for family relations and temperance allies John B. Foote and John H. Simpson; famous temperance movement leaders John B. Gough and John B. Finch; cities she was fond of including Geneseo, N.Y. and Cleveland, Ohio; plus two states, Iowa and Michigan.
When the question of territorial organization came up in the United States Senate the name “Jefferson” was promptly turned down. The list of proposed names included “Tampa,” “Idaho,” which was the name first accepted, “Nemara,” “San Juan,” “Lula,” “Arapahoe,” “Weappollao,” “Tahosa,” “Lafayette,” “Columbus,” “Franklin” and “Colona.” When the bill was about to pass, the name “Colorado” was ordered substituted for that of “Idaho.” On February 28, 1861, President Buchanan signed the bill creating the Territory of Colorado.
The name “Colorado” is the past participle of the Spanish verb “Colorar,” “to color,” with a secondary meaning of “ruddy” or “blushing;” and was originally applied by the Spaniards to the Colorado river, whose water is red in hue when swollen by the heavy rains from the disintegration of the reddish soils through which it flows.
In her “Facts on Early Lafayette” column for the Lafayette Leader, Dorothy Kolar wrote March 31, 1950, that “the first physician in Lafayette was Dr. McClane.” In a 1968 presentation to a class at Lafayette Elementary School, town founder Mary Miller’s grandson, Frank Miller, said that “Dr. Couch was the town’s first doctor.”
Robert Ansel Pierce (1880-1948)
The Spanish influenza epidemic of 1918 was swift and deadly, taking residents young and old. On October 11, Lafayette Mayor B.C. Cundall declared a moratorium on public gatherings and ordered the closing of fraternal lodges, schools, churches, pool halls and theaters. Children were required to stay home, but could travel with a permit issued by the city clerk.