Film Photography, Photography, Preservation, Road Trips

Homes of the Perrin Historic District in Lafayette, Indiana

If you ever drive through Lafayette, Indiana on Main Street, you’ll be surprised by the stunning older homes you pass. I sure was the first time I drove through Lafayette on my way to Purdue to visit my son. I’ve long wanted to stop and explore. My son and I finally made time for it not long ago.

Perrin Historic District, Lafayette, IN

It turns out many of these homes are part of the Perrin Historic District, which has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1979. The 173 homes in it were built between about 1869 and 1923 in many common styles of the era, from Italianate and Queen Anne through American Craftsman.

Perrin Historic District, Lafayette, IN

Perrin Historic District, Lafayette, IN

One of the area’s distinctive features is its hilliness. Put on good walking shoes when you visit the Perrin Historic District.

Perrin Historic District, Lafayette, IN

Perrin Historic District, Lafayette, IN

Perrin Historic District, Lafayette, IN

But as you walk, be sure to keep your mouth tightly closed so you don’t drool. Pretty much every home will stop you dead in your tracks. Many of the homes are lovingly cared for or even restored, while some are in original but rough condition.

Perrin Historic District, Lafayette, IN

Perrin Historic District, Lafayette, IN

Remarkably, you can live in the Perrin Historic District for not a whole lot of money. As I check Zillow.com today, I see estimated values of as little as $90,000 and no higher than $250,000.

Perrin Historic District, Lafayette, IN

If you ever visit, the district is bordered on the south by Main Street (the old Lafayette Road, built in the 1830s to connect Lafayette to Indianapolis), on the north by Union Street, on the west by Erie Street, and on the east by 18th Street.

Pentax ME, 35mm f/2.8 SMC Pentax-A, Fujicolor 200 (at EI 100)

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21 thoughts on “Homes of the Perrin Historic District in Lafayette, Indiana

  1. I have driven past this area but have never taken the time to explore it. It is unusual in this area to find such large homes from that period in something that looks like a more modern subdivision, at least one that has not been overtaken by urban blight at some point.

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    • I’ve wanted to explore it ever since first visiting Damion at Purdue. I’m happy Damion was willing to make time for a photo walk with me.

      What really is different about this neighborhood is that it was built on the original terrain. The houses themselves are representative of their period – it’s the hilliness of the streets and lots that sets the neighborhood apart.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Walter Czyz says:

    My wife and I love these old houses! One day we’ll own one, probably when we’re too old to enjoy it though. There’s a page on Facebook dedicated to showing listings of these old homes for sale. We are always scrolling through these, Google Street Viewing the houses and the area around them. Our weird way of seeing how it would be to live there.
    https://www.facebook.com/ForTheLoveOfOldHouses/

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  3. Andy Umbo says:

    What a great district…lots of neighborhoods like this are in small college towns adjacent to the universities, where most of the college professors and school administrators lived back in the day, kind of an Andy Hardy world. I know there’s a great neighborhood like this surrounding Lawrence University in Appleton Wisconsin too…ditto the Carroll University neighborhood in Waukesha Wisconsin. The older the institution, the more likely they’re going to have a surrounding neighborhood of architecturally interesting housing…

    I once drove across the top of Pennsylvania on the way to New Jersey because I wanted to get off the main highways, and I was amazed at how many small towns had a liberal arts college from the late 1800’s, surround by these little beautiful neighborhoods; looking like movie sets….

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  4. DougD says:

    Very nice, and use of original terrain is a plus.

    I must say those are crazy cheap prices, even with the exchange. I was walking around with Ed & Beth Stembridge last night and looking at some of the 1840’s houses in our town. Those would be million plus homes around here :(

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  5. Heide says:

    How fantastic that this pocket of historic homes still exists! Thank goodness for the National Register of Historic Places, eh? Thanks for bringing us along on your stroll through your photos and words, Jim — great post!

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    • That’s the great thing about living in Indiana: you can get some truly great homes for very little money, relatively speaking. Indianapolis and its surrounding counties are the most expensive place to live in Indiana — and still, my software-engineering friends who live in Silicon Valley cry when I tell them what houses go for.

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  6. Russ Ray says:

    If you’re interested in another hilly area of Lafayette with historic houses, 9th Street hill is a good one. You get to see the county historical museum at the bottom of the hill, and at the top of the hill on a nearby street is the Haan Mansion. When I was a kid, the neighborhood used to light luminaria at Christmas time. There’s also a Frank Lloyd Wright house near Ross-Ade Stadium on campus.

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    • I’ve driven along 9th St. south from about Main to whichever street it is that heads toward the overpass into West Lafayette — is the hill north or south of that section?

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      • Russ Ray says:

        9th Street North turns into Canal Road and on out into the country toward Battle Ground. 9th Street South I think now heads out to where it eventually crosses US 231. Closer to downtown is where 9th Street hill is, I think it starts from either Main or Columbia and heads up toward Kossuth Street (past the top of the hill). There’s a street that connects 9th and Kossuth where the old mansion is.

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        • Ah yes! That’s a little south of where I normally go on ninth street – but at least now I know where it is and can go check it out next time in town!

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