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Dating back to 1846, Lafayette is the oldest community in Yamhill County, one of Oregon's four original counties. The first wagon trains of 1843-44 brought in the initial settlers. The site became known as Yam Hill Falls, but in 1847 town founder Joel Perkins named it Lafayette for his Indiana hometown. The townsite is on an old Native American trail near a spot that offered an easy crossing of the Yamhill River. By the early 1850s Lafayette was one of the most prosperous communities in the Oregon Territory. It served as the county seat until 1889, when residents voted to move the government to McMinnville.
Lafayette Locks Historical Park, .5-mile east on SR 99W, then .5-mile south on Locks Road, is the site of navigation locks on the Yamhill River built 1898-1900 to provide year-round river transportation to McMinnville. They were shut down in 1954 due to declining traffic, and in 1965 the dam was dynamited and the lock doors were removed to restore fish runs on the Yamhill. The 7.1-acre park offers a nature trail, picnic sites and a playground.
Lafayette Schoolhouse Antique Mall, on SR 99W, is in a restored 1910 schoolhouse. The mall features more than 100 antique dealers; phone (503) 864-2720. The downtown historic district features art galleries and specialty and retail stores.
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Current Location: Lafayette, Oregon