This District is named for U.S. Patent Commissioner, Henry Leavitt Ellsworth, who lived in the neighborhood and was instrumental in the settling of the Wabash Valley area. As Lafayette grew, the neighborhood was a popular choice for all classes of citizens who sought comfortable residences within walking distance of the commercial area. The District contains a remarkable collection of 19th Century architecture, from mansions built by community leaders to workers' cottages, and includes some of the earliest structures built outside the original city limits. Important examples of all major architectural styles are present as well as modest vernacular houses dating from the 1850's to the 1920's. The neighborhood also has a number of row houses, double houses and an early example of an apartment building, popular responses to housing shortages and urban density. Indiana's oldest surviving Synagogue building and the outstanding Second Presbyterian Church add to the diversity of the neighborhood.
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Two railroad lines built through the District in the 19th Century were historically known as the Wabash Railroad and the Monon Railroad. These railroads were the engine for Lafayette's prosperity and growth. Relocation of the tracks along the river was first conceived in 1929, and their removal from downtown had become imperative by the 1970's. Cooperation among local, state and federal governments resulted in the groundbreaking for construction on May 25, 1986. The last train passed over these rails on April 6, 2001.
The Ellsworth - Romig Neighborhood Association was founded in 1979. The Ellsworth Historic District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.