My husband was born and raised in West Lafayette. When he was growing up in the 1980s, University Farm was newly developed and it was THE place to live in West Lafayette. He grew up in a beautiful older home by Purdue University campus, and he begged his parents to move to a newly built, family friendly home in University Farm. They ignored his requests, so later in life, while raising his own family, he moved to University Farm and we bought the sturdily constructed home within the neighborhood of 565 houses. Not only did we purchase a nice house, we bought into a great neighborhood.
University Farm, named after Purdue University which owned the land prior to development, is in a fantastic location, North of Cumberland Avenue and East of Salisbury Street. Located only 5 minutes from multiple grocery stores, 10 minutes from Purdue, and 7 minutes from the interstate, it is far enough away from campus that it has no student rentals, yet is close enough that a large number of its residents work at the University. Of the 2232 residents, 99% are homeowners. The neighborhood is also within walking distance of the West Lafayette Baseball and Softball Fields.
Neighbors are very friendly and are frequently outside walking on the sidewalks, riding bikes, playing with children, or doing yard work. Although a larger subdivision, University Farm is a neighborhood in which neighbors know each other’s names, and know what children and animals belong in which house.
West Lafayette Community Schools were recently deemed the #1 Public School System in Indiana. The majority of Westsiders would agree that the schools are fantastic. Most homes in University Farm are walking distance to Cumberland Elementary School, rated the #1 Public Elementary School in Indiana. There are sidewalks throughout the neighborhood and two crossing guards at the 2 major intersections to school, employed throughout the school year. The guards know most of the kids by name and are super friendly. Kids in the neighborhood walk to school with their friends just like kids did in the 1950’s.
Another reason University Farm is great is the parks. There is not one, but two parks in University Farm. I am a frequenter of these parks, particularly the park at the intersection of Hamilton and LaGrange. I talk to everyone I see there and I often find that the majority of people at this park are not from the neighborhood. When I ask these friendly outsiders why they come to this park they respond that they love it because it is small yet has a play structure for both older and younger kids, it’s set off the road, and they feel safe. The other park, located in a more hidden spot off of Dubois Street, is affectionately referred to by our household as “Secret Park”. The park is big, spacious, and has different structures than the other park. This park is less known by people outside the neighborhood, because it is hidden behind houses and doesn’t have official parking, so it really is a secret. I usually only see residents there.
If the schools and the parks aren’t enough of a reason to love University Farm, they also have the most wonderful neighborhood association that hosts parties throughout the year at the Hamilton/Lagrange Street Park. For the neighborhood association fee of $25 a year, residents enjoy an Easter Egg Hunt in the Spring, an Ice Cream Social when school starts in August, and a Halloween Party in October. These parties are well organized, typically have a bounce house or two, and frequently have the Boilermaker Special. The Easter Bunny makes an appearance at the Easter Party and costumes are worn at the Halloween Party. The parties include sweet treats and friendly conversation.
A new, fun addition to the neighborhood are the Little Libraries found throughout the area. One resides at the Hamilton/Lagrange Street Park, and another in front of a beloved neighbor’s house on Lagrange. You can donate and take books as desired. Another new addition to the neighborhood is the University Farm Neighborhood Association Facebook Page, a closed group for neighbors to share information.
University Farm is a great neighborhood. The neighborhood encourages its residents to be outside because of the sidewalks, parks, crossing guards and Little Libraries. Neighbors keep to themselves but are social, friendly, and reliable. Plus, the schools are great. My husband was right to move us here. Shhh, please don’t tell him I said that.
Great article Lauren. It totally sums up the neighborhood. We have been here almost a year (come March) and have to admit that it was the perfect house and neighborhood for our family. Actually, any family would love to be here.