Lafayette Public Library history rooted in 1890s public reading rooms

First Congregational Church from an early 1900s post card. The town’s first public library opened in the church in 1923.

The Lafayette Public Library’s history and origin traces back to town founder Mary Miller, who established a reading room in Lafayette sometime between 1888 and 1891. The town’s public library — a place where anyone could take a book off the shelf and read it at home, then bring it back — started in Lafayette in 1923.

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National Homes structures in Lafayette Heights a collection of hidden gems

Two dozen homes manufactured by National Homes were assembled in Lafayette Heights from 1954 to 1958.

An interesting and unique Old Town neighborhood is Lafayette Heights, located west of Public Road and south of Kimbark Street. The neighborhood was established in 1954 and is Lafayette’s first subdivision containing mass-produced homes.

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The Jerkwater Train and Lafayette’s First Black Residents

Two Denver & Interurban trollies, left, share tracks with a Colorado & Southern locomotive that originated in Lafayette, Colorado circa 1918. The location is confirmed as Louisville, Colorado although the original caption for the image describes it as “Louisville Junction” which was about 3 miles south of Louisville.

The local Colorado and Southern (C & S) train depot was a beehive of activity in the 1920s, as hundreds of daily commuters hopped on the “Jerkwater Train” to make their connection to trollies headed to Denver.

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Notable Citizens: Swan Edison, Lafayette’s Toughest Mayor

Swan Edison and friends on the porch of old city 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.

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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.

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