Lafayette, Colorado

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City of Lafayette, Colorado
Home Rule Municipality
Lafayette, CO.jpg
Location of Lafayette in Boulder County, Colorado.
Location of Lafayette in Boulder County, Colorado.
Coordinates: 39°59′42″N 105°6′2″W / 39.99500°N 105.10056°W / 39.99500; -105.10056Coordinates: 39°59′42″N 105°6′2″W / 39.99500°N 105.10056°W / 39.99500; -105.10056
Country  United States
State  Colorado
County[1] Boulder County
Founded 1888
Incorporated January 6, 1890[2]
Named for Lafayette Miller
 • Type Home Rule Municipality[1]
 • Mayor Christine Berg[3]
 • Mayor Pro Tem Gustavo Reyna[4]
 • City Administrator Gary Klaphake[5]
 • Total 9.54 sq mi (24.71 km2)
 • Land 9.34 sq mi (24.18 km2)
 • Water 0.20 sq mi (0.53 km2)
Elevation[7] 5,210 ft (1,588 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 24,453
 • Estimate (2016)[8] 28,261
 • Density 3,026.78/sq mi (1,168.59/km2)
Time zone MST (UTC-7)
 • Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6)
ZIP code[9] 80026
Area code(s) Both 303 and 720
FIPS code 08-41835
GNIS feature ID 0202813
Highways US 287, SH 7, SH 42 NW Parkway

The City of Lafayette /ˌlɑːfɪˈjɛt/ is a Home Rule Municipality located in Boulder County, Colorado, United States. The city population was 24,453 at the 2010 United States Census.[10]


Lafayette is located in southeastern Boulder County at 39°59′42″N 105°6′2″W / 39.99500°N 105.10056°W / 39.99500; -105.10056 (39.995, -105.100556).[11] It is bordered by the town of Erie to the north and east, by the city of Broomfield to the east and south, and by Louisville to the southwest. U.S. Highway 287 is the main road through the city, leading north to Longmont and south to Broomfield and Denver. State Highway 7 leads east from Lafayette to Brighton and west to Boulder.

According to the United States Census Bureau, Lafayette has a total area of 9.6 square miles (24.9 km2), of which 9.5 square miles (24.5 km2) is land and 0.15 square miles (0.4 km2), or 1.50%, is water.[10]


Lafayette was founded in 1888 by Mary E. (Foote) Miller. She and her husband, Lafayette Miller, had moved to the area to farm land they had purchased from Denver coal speculators Francis P. Heatly and Edward Chase. The farm also included land acquired by Mary's brother, James B. Foote and father, John B. Foote via the Homestead Act in 1871.[12] In 1874 the Millers moved to Boulder. Lafayette Miller ran a butcher shop and was a town trustee. Lafayette Miller died in Boulder in 1878, after which Mary Miller moved back to the farm with their six small children. In 1884 coal was discovered on the Miller farm, and in 1887 John H. Simpson acquired a coal lease from James B. Foote and sank the first Simpson Mine shaft, thereby starting the coal mining era. In 1888 Mary Miller designated 37 acres (0.15 km2) of the farm for the town of Lafayette, which she named after her late husband. In July 1888 a second mine, the Cannon, went into operation and the first houses were built. Mary Miller submitted a revised 89 acres (0.36 km2) plat for the town in 1889.[12] Also in early 1889, Mary Miller leased the rights to mine coal for 12.5 cents per ton to Charles Spencer and John H. Simpson. The two commenced sinking the Spencer coal mine 200 yards west of the Simpson coal mine.[12] On April 2, 1889,[2] the town of Lafayette was incorporated.[12] As stipulated in the original property deeds for the platting, no alcohol could be sold or distributed east of what is now known as Public Road.[12][13][14] In 1904, the Lafayette Town Board mandated that the "alcohol clause" be added to all platted additions to Lafayette. "Alcohol clause" deed restrictions weren't repealed by the City of Lafayette until the 1980s.

Lafayette quickly became a part of the coal-mining boom that all of eastern Boulder and southwestern Weld counties were experiencing, with the combined Spencer/Simpson mine being the largest and most productive. The Cannon floundered and failed to produce profitable quantities of coal. It closed in 1898.[12] By 1914 Lafayette was a booming town with two banks and four hotels. Lafayette was also the location of one of the nation's first distributed electrical grids powered by the Interurban Power Plant that served Louisville, Boulder, Longmont, and Fort Collins.[12]

Mary Miller continued to be a leader in the community, especially in January 1900, when the town's business district burned. She founded the Farmers’ & Miners’ State Bank with S.T. Hooper, C.C. Brown and G.C. Beaman in June 1892, which closed in August 1894. Mary Miller then formed the Lafayette Bank in 1900.[12] She was elected president of the bank, and according to a Denver Post article reprinted in the Lafayette News and dated Dec. 13, 1902, was "the only woman in the United States known to be president of a bank."[15] The bank closed in 1914 because of roughly $90,000 in bad loans to the striking United Mine Workers. Mary Miller remained devoted to the temperance movement and eventually ran on the 1913 Prohibition Party ticket for the U.S. Senate seat won by Gov. John F. Shafroth.[12] She also ran for the state treasurer seat on the Prohibition Party ticket.[15] Miller died in 1921 at her daughter-in-law's home at 501 E. Cleveland Street.

Lafayette continued to thrive as a coal-mining town. Northern Coal Field miners, members of United Mine Workers, walked off the job in the aforementioned strike starting in April 1910.[16] The United Mine Workers expanded the strike to all of Colorado in 1913.[12][17][16] The Long Strike is nationally noted for the Ludlow Massacre of miners' families by the National Guard in the Southern Coal Field near Trinidad, Colorado.

Until about 1915, residents of the city were largely caucasian Midwestern transplants and Western European coal miners who'd immigrated from England, Wales and Ireland. The 1900 and 1910 census show no families with Latino surnames residing in Lafayette.[12] Coinciding with the start of the Long Strike of 1910-1914, the coal operators began recruiting strikebreaker workers who were immigrants from Eastern Europe and Mexico. United Mine Workers Lafayette Local 1388 meeting minutes show scant traces of Latino membership from 1903 until September 1913. Initially banned from membership, union locals realized during the Long Strike of 1910-1914 the necessity of forming labor alliances with native-born and immigrant Latinos. Entering their $10 annual Lafayette Local 1388 dues at the September 25, 1913, meeting were initiates Frank Gonzales, S. Gonzales, F.H. Gallegos, A. Dominguez, Guy Dominguez, Jesus Guzman, Gabriel Vigil, Teofila Tafoya, D. Romero, Ben Martinez, Juan Guerrero and Francisco Guerrero.[12] After the strike, Rocky Mountain Fuel Company encouraged their employees in the Southern Coal Field, largely immigrants from Mexico and second- and third-generation residents of New Mexico and Colorado, to relocate to the Lafayette area. Those Latino families located in Serene initially then moved to Lafayette after the Columbine Mine closed. In the 1920s and 1930s sugar factories in surrounding counties also recruited Latino workers to harvest sugar beats. The 1920 census showed 1,800 Lafayette residents, with 25 individuals having Latino surnames.[12]

In 1927, Lafayette's coal miners walked off the job again, a strike nationally recognized as a great Wobbly (Industrial Workers of the World, a radical labor group) strike. This time, the mining massacre was closer to home, resulting in the deaths of five Lafayette resident miners just northeast of town in the Columbine Mine Massacre on November 27, 1927, in what is now the ghost town of Serene near Erie.

Another female financier came to the miners' aid. Josephine Roche, the daughter of John J. Roche, the anti-labor president of the Rocky Mountain Fuel Company (RMFC) which owned many of the mines in the Lafayette area, used some shares of the company she had inherited from her father after his death in 1927, bought a controlling interest in the company, and immediately began the most labor-friendly mine operation in the United States. She became a top assistant to Franklin D. Roosevelt's Secretary of Labor, Frances Perkins. Back in Lafayette, life became much better for the coal miners with the more labor-friendly management of the RMFC.

Coal mining declined as an industry from the 1930s through 1950s as natural gas replaced coal. The Black Diamond mine closed in 1956, and Lafayette became once more an agriculture-based community. As Denver and Boulder grew, residential growth in Lafayette increased. With the increase in residential growth, the farm-based economy changed and commercial, small industrial and manufacturing factors became more important. Thankfully, Lafayette's ethnic diversity continued to expand with population growth. In 1940, 76 Hispanic or Latino adults were recorded as residing in Lafayette, with a total population of 2,062.[18] By 2016, 4,400 (18 percent) of Lafayette's 25,000 residents were Hispanic or Latino.[19]


The Lafayette City Council serves as the community's legislative body, enacting ordinances, appropriating funds to conduct city business, and providing policy direction for city governance through the city administrator. The council consists of seven members who are elected on a non-partisan basis in odd-numbered years. Terms are staggered as four seats must be filled each election year. The three councilors with the most votes serve four-year terms and the fourth receives a two-year term. The mayor and mayor pro-tem are selected by the City Council for two-year terms. The current mayor of Lafayette is Christine Berg and the mayor pro-tem is Gustavo Reyna.[20]

In 2010 leaders were signed for several empty big-box stores on South Boulder Road. Jax Sporting Goods moved into the old Ace Hardware building on the corner of S. Boulder and Highway 287, and next door Sunflower Market opened a new store where Albertsons had been housed. In 2014, new commercial buildings were built in the same marketplace, that house a few restaurants like Chipotle, and telecommunications companies like AT&T.

Lafayette has a variety of events each year, including an oatmeal festival in cooperation with the Quaker Oats Company, a peach festival, a wine festival, and Lafayette Days. Festival Plaza is a gathering place in Old Town Lafayette on Public Road and Chester Streets. The Plaza is composed of a series of four smaller interconnected plazas each designed with features to promote various events.


Lafayette public schools are part of the Boulder Valley School District. The main public high school in Lafayette is Centaurus High School, which has approximately 1,000 students. Peak to Peak Charter School offers kindergarten through high school. The public middle school is Angevine Middle School. This school feeds into Centaurus and is also very diverse. The elementary schools are Lafayette, Alicia Sanchez, Bernard D. 'Pat' Ryan STEAM school, and Pioneer Elementary, a bilingual school where English and Spanish are both spoken. Alexander Dawson School is a private K-12 college prep school in the north part of town.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 410
1900 970 136.6%
1910 1,892 95.1%
1920 1,815 −4.1%
1930 1,842 1.5%
1940 2,052 11.4%
1950 2,090 1.9%
1960 2,612 25.0%
1970 3,498 33.9%
1980 8,985 156.9%
1990 14,548 61.9%
2000 23,197 59.5%
2010 24,453 5.4%
Est. 2016 28,261 [8] 15.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[21]

As of the census[22] of 2010, there were 24,453 people, 9,632 households, and 6,354 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,584 people per square mile (997.8/km²). There were 9,997 housing units at an average density of 1,052.3 per square mile (408.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 85.6% White, 1.1% African American, 0.9% Native American, 3.8% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 5.4% some other race, and 3.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 18.2% of the population.[23]

There were 9,632 households, of which 36.5% had children under the age of 18 living in them; 49.9% were headed by married couples living together; 11.6% had a female householder with no husband present; and 34.0% were non-families. Of all households, 25.5% were made up of individuals, and 5.9% were someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. Average household size was 2.54, and average family size was 3.08.[23]

In the city, the population was spread out with 25.4% under the age of 18, 6.9% from 18 to 24, 29.7% from 25 to 44, 29.9% from 45 to 64, and 8.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37.6 years. For every 100 females there were 95.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.9 males.[23]

For the period 2009-2011, the estimated median income for a household in the city in 2010 was $66,202, and the median income for a family was $79,212. Male full-time workers had a median income of $54,313 versus $50,166 for females. The per capita income for the city was $34,711. About 9.3% of families and 12.5% of the population were below the poverty line.[24]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Active Colorado Municipalities". State of Colorado, Department of Local Affairs. Archived from the original on 2010-11-23. Retrieved 2007-09-01. 
  2. ^ a b "Colorado Municipal Incorporations". State of Colorado, Department of Personnel & Administration, Colorado State Archives. 2004-12-01. Retrieved 2007-09-02. 
  3. ^ "Staff Directory: Christine Berg". City of Lafayette. Retrieved 2014-02-14. 
  4. ^ "Staff Directory: Gustavo Reyna". City of Lafayette. Retrieved 2014-02-14. 
  5. ^ "Staff Directory: Gary Klaphake". City of Lafayette. Retrieved 2014-02-14. 
  6. ^ "2016 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Jul 25, 2017. 
  7. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  8. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017. 
  9. ^ "ZIP Code Lookup". United States Postal Service. Archived from the original (JavaScript/HTML) on November 23, 2010. Retrieved October 25, 2007. 
  10. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Lafayette city, Colorado". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved September 26, 2013. 
  11. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Conarroe, Doug (2017). 80026: An illustrated history of Lafayette, Colo. - 1829 to 1929 (1st ed.). 6000 Bees LLC. Retrieved 2018-01-09. 
  13. ^ "History of Lafayette". City of Lafayette. Retrieved 2007-02-01. 
  14. ^ "Mary Miller". City of Lafayette. Retrieved 2007-02-01. 
  15. ^ a b "Mrs. Mary E. Miller". Lafayette News, Lafayette, Colo. 13 December 1902. 
  16. ^ a b Lafayette, Colorado History - Treeless Plain to Thriving City. Lafayette, Colo.: Lafayette Historical Society. 1990. pp. 15–19. ISBN 0881071544. 
  17. ^ Conarroe, Carolyn (2001). Coal Mining in Colorado's Northern Field (2nd ed.). 6000 Bees LLC. ISBN 0971107319. 
  18. ^ McKintosh, Marjorie (2016). Latinos of Boulder County, Colorado, 1900 to 1980. Old John Publishing. 
  19. ^ "Lafayette, Colorado population". Suburban Stats. 
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  22. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  23. ^ a b c "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Lafayette city, Colorado". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved September 26, 2013. 
  24. ^ "Selected Economic Characteristics: 2009-2011 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimates (DP03): Lafayette city, Colorado". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved September 26, 2013. 
  25. ^ "Astronaut Candidate Jessica Watkins". NASA. 

External links[edit]