Historical import of Trails, Paths and Roads
Historical trails, often called "traces" or "paths" contributed to the migration and settlement of large portions of the United States. Many trails were well established by the time Europeans immigrated to the colonies. The original 'travelers' on the trails were probably various types of wildlife as they moved from place to place in search of grazing lands, salt sources and fresh water. Native Americans were familiar with trails and utilized them for hundreds of years prior to settlement by Europeans. The paths were also used to wage war, thus the term: “War Path”. Because they were often well worn, relatively easy to follow and led to grazing lands and fresh water Europeans utilized them as well on foot, horseback and with wagons. Many of these trails, or portions of them, were eventually utilized in the construction of roads and highways in modern times.
The road known as Lafayette Road is just such a trail/path/road. It undoubtedly had its beginnings as a Native Indian trail probably originally blazed by the Miami Indians who lived in the area. The Lafayette Road was commissioned, surveyed and cleared in 1831. The commissioners chose the route because it was a well-traveled horse trail running between Indianapolis and Lafayette.
Beginning of Lafayette Road
The road was funded by tolls collected at a tollhouse which is still standing today at 6475 Lafayette Road. It was the first public road through the Pike Township. The construction of roads versus trails and paths allowed for new migration into the area because the roads were wide enough and smooth enough to allow for wagons to move families and belongings from one area to another.