COPYRIGHT 2020 © PRESERVATION ALLIANCE OF LAFAYETTE
In 1927, Lafayette experienced an increasingly high demand for the big trend in new technology of that time, the telephone. Southern Bell Telephone & Telegraph Exchange Company had to expand its switchboard from a back room in the Lafayette Hardware Building at 121 West Vermilion Street, to a larger space. They built this modern building in the architectural fashion of the Chicago School, now called the “Commercial” style. Lafayette had tripled in population within a year, largely due to the 1927 flood, which left rural areas uninhabitable for years. Flood refugees became newcomers to Lafayette, and they needed telephones. Construction took a very short six months, and as it happened, the building was completed on Thomas Edison’s birthday, February 11, 1928. At that time, it was considered to be a large and modern, commercial building for Lafayette. Architecturally, the building remains unchanged on the exterior. On the interior, the space has been adapted for use as commercial office space. It is now houses, among other businesses, offices for the firm that rehabilitated the building, Poché Prouet Associates, LLC.