Ruth & I have friends in La Grange, Texas. I never thought much about the name of their town until I saw another La Grange in Georgia and began wondering how many of them there were and what the name means. I did some research and found out that there are at least a dozen towns named La Grange in the United States. There are also many places with this name that are not towns. There’s also one Lagrange; a town in Indiana where 2,625 people live. La Grange, GA is, in fact, the largest American town with this name. It has 29,588 residents. #2 in size is La Grange, Illinois, which has a population of 15,550 unless some of them have moved out. Maybe the upcoming census will clear this up for me. La Grange, TX, where The Hills live not too far from Austin, has 4,641 souls.
geotargit.com says there are 14 La Granges in America, 23 in the world, and 6 in France. That there are 6 in France makes sense since Lagrange is a French word meaning “The Barn”. Apparently, all of the U. S. La Granges are named after the French estate of the Marquis de Lafayette, the French hero of the American Revolution. There are also lots of Lafayette streets. I grew up in St. Louis near one. La Grange was the name of Lafayette’s chateau 30 miles east of Paris, France. Not Paris, Texas, y’all.
A lot of places named La Grange occurred after 1825. In 1824 the Marquis toured America for 13 months to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of our nation. In his return to America, Lafayette visited all 24 states, and by 1825 he was in Savannah, GA where he was lavishly entertained. Savannah is home to the famous Forsyth Park Fountain pictured above.
None of the La Granges have gained a national reputation as a travel destination although Ruth & I visited the Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Center in La Grange, TX earlier this year and found it a 5 Compass endeavor.
In his outrageously successful musical Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda calls Lafayette “America’s favorite fighting Frenchman”. No wonder there are so many places named La Grange and Lagrange in America!