Ferry Street north to Union Street Fourth Street east to Ninth Street
Much of the neighborhood was platted as the first addition to the Town of Lafayette in 1829. It is the oldest residential - mixed use neighborhood in Lafayette. The early development of the neighborhood was associated with the completion along its western boundary of the Wabash and Erie Canal in 1841 and the completion in 1853 of the New Albany and Salem Railway (later became the Monon Route) down the middle of the neighborhood on 5th Street.
The Historic Centennial Neighborhood’s 16-block area lies just north of downtown. Characterized by stately old homes, churches, institutions and local businesses. The neighborhood was home to ordinary citizens and many of the early families of prominence. It is an architectural showcase of the period 1840 to 1920. This area takes its name from the old Centennial School which stood from 1876 to1971 at Sixth and Brown Streets. The site is now occupied by the Centennial Neighborhood Park.
Two of the oldest existing houses in Lafayette are located in Centennial. They were built in the mid-1840s; a Greek Revival cottage (currently a family residence) at 602 North Fifth Street and the Federal/Greek Revival style Reverend Samuel Johnson House (currently administrative office for the adjacent St. John’s Episcopal Church) at 608 Ferry Street. In 1983, the neighborhood was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Additional Neighborhood Features
Residents of the Historic Centennial Neighborhood are within walking distance of numerous downtown area attractions, including the Tippecanoe County Public Library, Long Center for the Performing Arts, the Farmers Market and Riehle Plaza. Included within neighborhood boundaries are the Civic Theater (the 1901 Monon Depot), Wells Community Cultural Center, Imagination Station, YWCA and eight houses of worship.
The Purdue University campus is very convenient being but a short drive or bus ride across the Wabash River.
Current Neighborhood Activities
Like many of Lafayette’s older neighborhoods, Centennial had deteriorated, becoming a concentration of rental properties. With the removal of the railroad tracks from N. 5th Street in 1994, the neighborhood began a revitalization effort concentrating on increasing owner-occupied residences. Included has been historic restoration of buildings, neighborhood rezoning and an exciting new construction project of owner-occupied residences. The North Fifth Street Brownstones and Rowhouses (in the 500 and 600 blocks) have been designed to complement the surrounding historic architecture. This partnership of public and private development to increase home-ownership is an innovative effort in neighborhood revitalization.