Putting the capital F in LaFayette

Published 7:00 am Saturday, November 23, 2019

LaFAYETTE — Anyone living near northwest Chambers County most likely knows that LaFayette is spelled with a capital F.

However, most of the highway and interstate signs in Chambers County have the town’s name spelled with a lower case “f.”

LaFayette Councilwoman Charlotte Blasingame is hoping to get LaFayette’s “f” correctly capitalized on signs on state highways and interstates.

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“Last year, before I got elected, we were coming back from LaGrange and noticed it was spelled with a little F,” Blasingame said. “When I got elected, I started to find out how to get it fixed.”

She made a call to John Trimble of the Alabama Department of Transportation District III in Auburn. She was told the process of changing signs happens with the state transportation department in Montgomery.

Blasingame then decided to get State Rep. Bob Fincher, R-Wedowee, involved. He told Blasingame to get a resolution passed by the LaFayette mayor and council asking ALDOT to change the signs and then deliver to it Trimble.

That’s exactly what Blasingame did. The council passed the resolution Monday, and she and Fincher delivered the resolution to Trimble’s office Thursday.

On Friday, Trimble said he passed the request up the chain of command at ALDOT. He said the typical chain of command goes through Alexander City, then Birmingham and then Montgomery.

Fincher said the state has been leaving the capital F out of LaFayette for a while, even though the city has been spelling it right itself the whole time.

“You might as well have the town’s name spelled right,” he said. “I realize there are some towns in the U.S. that don’t spell it that way. If the state doesn’t have it correct, we need to correct it.”

So, where does the capital F come from?

According to LaFayette’s website, the town was first called “Chambersville.” However, by the time of incorporation on Jan.7, 1835, the town name had been changed to “Lafayette,” named after the Marquis de Lafayette.

Lafayette was a French military officer who fought beside American soldiers during the American Revolutionary War.

“Its spelling was changed to ‘LaFayette’ due to the influence of newspaper editor Johnson J. Hooper, who created a fictional character called Captain Simon Suggs, a backwoods southerner who pronounced the town’s name as ‘La Fait,’” according to the website.

Now, Blasingame and the rest of the LaFayette will have to sit back and hope the state approves its request to change the signs.

“I love LaFayette,” Blasingame said. “I want to make sure that people know how to pronounce our city. I feel that it is really essential to have it on the sign.”