Erected on this site in 1845 by John Purdue (October 31, 1802 - September 12, 1876) The John Purdue Block was a collection of 12 stores, each 22 feet wide, occupying the complete block between Columbia and South streets. At the time, it was the largest brick masonry building west of New York City.
Cargo was delivered to the Purdue Block by way of the Wabash and Erie Canal which passed some 100 feet behind this building. The first railroad came through Lafayette in 1851.
John Purdue sold the buildings in the 1850's during the time he was active in the building of Purdue University.
A variety of tenants have made use of the buildings. In 1850, the Northern Indiana Medical College was located here. By 1881, businesses included W. & L.L. Ross Mercantile and Purdue, Brown & Company. In 1885 Augustus Peret opened a buggy carriage and harness manufacturing company.
By 1925 there were six businesses on the block: The Duffy & Means Candy Company; Central Top and Battery Company (manufacturers of soft auto tops); W. W. Steele Wire & Iron Works; Johnson Hardware Company (dealer of farm machinery) and The Glenn Auto Electric Company.
Dennis D. Dunn and Edwin F. Hargitt purchased the building in November 1980 from Glenn Auto and initiated restoration. During the process, on August 7, 1981, a major portion of the building collapsed.
Dedicated to saving this valuable community asset, Dunn & Hargitt brought in architect Peter Goelzer of Minneapolis and Kettelhut Construction, Inc. Of Lafayette, to take over and complete the project.
Restoration was completed in the spring of 1883. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.