Notable Citizens: Swan Edison, Lafayette’s Toughest Mayor

Swan Edison and friends on the porch of Town Hall at 201 E. Simpson Street in Lafayette, Colorado. The right photo is how the structure appears in 2022. Black and white photo is courtesy Lafayette Historical Society.

The circa 1910 photo above shows the front porch of the old town hall at the northeast corner of East Simpson Street and Harrison Avenue, which currently houses the East Simpson Coffee Company. The first man standing (from the left) is Swan Edison, one of the most prominent and dedicated civil servants in Lafayette’s history. More about him in a bit. The man with the mustache to right of Edison is (likely) Alfred “Pete” Peterson, known as Petey the Iceman.

Continue reading “Notable Citizens: Swan Edison, Lafayette’s Toughest Mayor”

Lafayette’s Miner’s Cottages

A classic Miner’s Cottage, called a “Type E” house by the coal company and built in 1910 at the Simpson Mine then moved into Old Town, still sits at 800 E. Dounce Street in Lafayette.

The dominant housing style in Old Town Lafayette is called a Miner’s Cottage, a simple, one-story, non-ornamental structure exemplified by the small footprint and a pyramid roof. Some do have side gables, but the style is generally one-story with less than 700 square feet and is considered a Vernacular style of architecture — a structure built without the aid of an architect or designer.

Continue reading “Lafayette’s Miner’s Cottages”

New Lafayette history book: Lost Lafayette, Colorado

Lost Lafayette, Colorado is available now and is an update to Doug Conarroe’s “80026” coffee table book and contains new chapters on Lafayette’s dark decade dominated by the Ku Klux Klan. There’s also new details about Lafayette’s irrigation and water history. The well-researched book is Lafayette’s complete history from the 1820s through the 1930s. Find it at Arcadia Press.

Local vendors for Arcadia Books include Walgreen’s and Jax Farm and Ranch.

The Millers and Lafayette’s Ku Klux Klan

History can sometimes be very messy, with dark chapters that take decades to sort out. Lafayette’s history is no exception.

Recent discoveries related to the Ku Klux Klan activities of town founder Mary Miller’s descendants have so sullied her legacy — and the Miller name — to the point that it should not be used to recognize anything — a street, a neighborhood or a housing development.

Continue reading “The Millers and Lafayette’s Ku Klux Klan”