Today's Lafayette is a modern East Bay suburb with a long and intriguing history of people, agriculture, and commerce. The story began in the summer of 1846, when Elam Brown and 13 families left St. Joseph, Missouri, in wagon trains and embarked on a sixmonth journey west to establish new homes and lives. By February 1848, Brown and his family had purchased the Rancho Acalanes in Contra Costa County from a San Francisco financier and had established the settlement that would later became Lafayette. Gradually Brown sold his land to other settlers, and the community began to grow. Eventually homes, stores, roads, schools, and churches were built. In these pages, the genesis of Lafayette, along with the story of its creators and early residents, is revealed in stirring early imagery.