The Lafayette Trail is a project of the American Friends of Lafayette (AFL), the historical society formed in 1932 to honor the Marquis. This organization is a 501(c)(3) charitable entity. Therefore, contributions made here are tax deductible to the full extent of the law. The expanded effort to map the remaining 18 states is also being sponsored by Lafayette College in Easton, Pa.
Contributions may also be sent by US Mail to:
1) Please include your Name, Address, Preferred Phone, and Preferred e-mail with your check.2) Please, enter "The Lafayette Trail" on the memo line of your check.
In 1824, as the last surviving general of the Revolutionary War, General Lafayette was invited by President Monroe to tour the then 24-state union. As a result, Lafayette left a mark deeply enshrined in the American national memory.
The Lafayette Trail Project is an initiative to turn the routes that Lafayette took on his 1824-1825 Farewell Tour into an historic trail so that people can learn more about Lafayette’s endeavors as the "Nation's Guest" - events, often overshadowed by his achievements during the Revolutionary War.
Julien Icher manages the Project for the Consulate General of France in Boston. As the Co vice-chairman of the committee in charge of promoting the 2024-2025 Bicentennial of the Triumphal Tour for the American Friends of Lafayette, he is deeply committed to the success of the missions bestowed upon him by the Consul General of France in Boston.
His current project has involved documenting Lafayette’s Farewell Tour in New England by developing a user-friendly web-based mapping program to display the routes taken and the stops made. Julien has also been reaching out to decision-making public figures so that the trail may become an educational resource accessible to a large public.
The Lafayette Trail is also an outstanding opportunity to revitalize different places along the route by capitalizing on their unique history pertaining to Lafayette. Local businesses based on or near the trail could benefit from this endeavor as well.
The database now captures Lafayette’s travels throughout New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont). The first leg of the trip occurred after Lafayette arrived in New York City from France in August of 1824. He journeyed along the New England coastal states as far north as Portsmouth New Hampshire, and then returned to New York City. After touring the Southern and Western states, he returned for the second leg of his New England journey in 1825 to lay the cornerstone of the Bunker Hill Monument, and to visit, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. Ultimately, this map will include the journeys he took across all of the 24 states, stretching as far south as Louisiana and as far west as Missouri.
Learn more about General Lafayette by clicking on the following links!
The map opens to a view including all of New England. Different segments of the route appear in different colors. The numbers in the circles indicate the number of stops made by Lafayette in that trail segment.
Explore the map by enlarging the view with the + sign and dragging the map across the screen with your cursor.
Enlarge the view enough, and individual unnumbered circles will appear designating individual stops. Click on a circle, and a pop-up image will appear with a description of what Lafayette did at that place. Once open, you can enlarge the image. Close the pop-up to continue exploring.
Alternatively, you may explore the stops Lafayette made by using the alphabetical listing of towns. Click on “Stops List” at the top of the page to display or hide the list. The listing displayed will conform to the view you are looking at ie only the stops visible on the screen will be available in the list. Click on the location name to view the pop-up image and description of what Lafayette did at that place. You can search for a place name in the listing by entering letters in the "search" box.
Click on the stack of layers in the upper right hand corner, and a series of check boxes appears. You may control what is visible on the screen with the checkboxes: 1824 routes, 1825 routes, stops, and two steamboat voyages. For example, if you want to view the 1824 route only, uncheck all boxes except “1824”.
Have fun exploring!
Looking back at his high school years, Julien Icher, a native of France, did extremely well on the standard French college entrance exams, and based on that, & his high school record, he was invited to enter an elite 3 year baccalaureate program with 30 students per class rather than the typical hundreds.
He earned a Bachelor’s Degree with double majors in History and Geography during those 3 years. As part of his courses, an in depth study of US history from the time of Lincoln to the time of Harry Truman, sparked his interest in America.
Another round of testing was necessary for Graduate School, and once again Julien passed with flying colors. He was admitted to one of the most prestigious universities in France to study for a Master’s degree in Geography.
At this point he told his advisors that he would like to improve his command of the English language by immersion in an English speaking country. It was recommended that he to go to England. He said “No, No, No, I want to go to America”, and he did! Traveling on a tourist visa, he spent 5 months at the College of William and Mary in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. His thesis topic concerned the reenactors and costumed guides that work at Jamestown, Colonial Williamsburg, and Yorktown.
Before he left for America, Julien’s father had introduced him to Bernard Caillot, a French member of the American Friends of Lafayette (AFL), the historical society dedicated to the Marquis. Since Julien was going to be studying in Williamsburg, Caillot invited him to join the Society at their 2015 annual meeting in Yorktown to greet Lafayette’s reconstructed ship the Hermione on its arrival in America.
Returning to France, Julien worked as a remote sensing operator in geospatial analysis to complete his two year degree requirements. He was then awarded a Master’s Degree in Geography, Summa Cum Laude.
By now, Julien was enamored with America and wanted to come back again, and of course, he was now reading as much as he could about Lafayette.
He flew in from France and attended the 2016 AFL meeting in Boston. During that trip the French Consul in Boston hosted a function at his official residence. Julien met him there, and as the only young French member of the AFL present, asked the consul to consider hiring him as an intern to work on promoting French-American tourism. The Consul seemed agreeable to some sort of arrangement. Julien went back to France, conceived the idea of the Lafayette Trail tracing Lafayette’s Triumphal Tour through New England, and sold it to the Consul.
Working as an intern for the Boston Consul, Julien completed the New England portion of the project in five months during early 2017. The results of his unique computer mapping program can be seen on this website.
Utilizing his work on the technical part of the mapping program, plus credit for the geospatial experience, Julien has recently earned a second French Master’s Degree in Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
Julien now plans to spend the next two years to complete the trail map for the remaining 18 states of Lafayette’s tour, and to enhance this website.