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 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 fashion of the Chicago School commercial architectural style, now called “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 the time, it was considered a significantly large and modern, commercial facility for Lafayette. Architecturally, the building remains unchanged on the exterior. On the interior, the space was adapted for use as a commercial office building, using State Commercial Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits. It is now home to the firm that rehabilitated the building, The Southwest Group. They provide commercial architectural, engineering, project management, mechanical, electrical, construction and real estate services throughout Louisiana.