Erected by The Tippecanoe Historical
Marker is located on
County Road 950 W. in Shelby Township.
At one time LaGrange was a bustling river town that held promise of rivaling all of the others including Lafayette.
During the 1830's, keel boats and piroques would invariably stop there on their way up and down the Wabash. Local proprietors did a lively business, exchanging goods like bacon, salt, flour, and medicines for beeswax, feathers, fur-skins and whiskey. Its prosperity was short-lived, but in its day, it kept pace with the other river towns in the area.
LaGrange was laid out in 1827 by Isaac Shelby, a pioneer settler and relative of Gov. Shelby of Kentucky. He named the town after the ancestral home of General de Lafayette. It was located about 11 miles southwest of Lafayette on the high, flat ground above the river.
Unfortunately for LaGrange, it was on the west bank of the Wabash. All the canal and railroad activity were to occur on the east bank.
It was also at the far edge of Tippecanoe County. The county line between Tippecanoe and Warren counties ran through the southwest corner of the town. The town plat showed 91 lots, but at most there were probably only 40 property owners. The town did have several stores as well as a hotel, a cooper shop, a tan yard, and a blacksmith.
A polemic society, a group of debaters that argued controversial topics in government and religion, was active in LaGrange. At one time there was a strong possibility of a lyceum and academy being established there.
The town was considered important enough to commission Isaac Shelby to survey and establish a road from LaGrange ot Logansport along the Warren County line.
When the Wabash and Erie Canal came to Lafayette in 1843, LaGrange found itself on the wrong side of the river, unable to enjoy the economic benefits that the canal era brought. Soon commerce diminished and local merchants sought better locations for trade. The final blow came in 1854 when the railroad too bypassed LaGrange, spelling the end of this once busy river town.
Source: The above is an article which ran in the Lafayette Journal and Courier, date unknown, and was written by Marilyn Dammon.