Thomas Duncan Hall, Inc.

Special Event


Engaged and Elegant at Eighty

“Engaged and Elegant at Eighty” a celebration with a distinct Scottish flair will be held at Thomas Duncan Hall, 619 Ferry St.. in Downtown Lafayette, on April 16 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. The event marks the historic landmark’s 80th year. There will be Scottish music from Lafayette’s own Christopher Layer and his father, Ed Layer. Their music will move the feet of dancers from The Whole Nine Yards Scottish Country Dancers.

Thomas Duncan’s Scottish clan’s tartan cloth will grace the tables at the occasion which will honor his benevolence in leaving a bequest in his will to build the hall, when he died in 1928. In addition, entertainment will include young singers from Marsha Webers’ 2nd grade class at Glen Acres, presenting songs they learned from attending Duncan Hall’s ten year old Manners Are Fun program. Actors from Civic Theater will recreate moments from some plays, produced at Duncan Hall in the 1930’s.

The history of The Community House Association that built Duncan Hall goes back to the late 1800’s. Some women who later formed the Association were part of a group which started the first free kindergartens in Lafayette and ran five of them for 26 years. Among other important activities, they provided healthy homemaking skills for young women and industrial arts also for young men. They provided housing for young working women and were involved in Women’s Suffrage. They provided the first meeting places for many organizations, including Little Theater, (which became Civic Theater), the Girl Scouts, as well as the YWCA. They ran two houses on Ferry Street, as community centers for women and girls.

Thomas Duncan’s wife and mother-in-law were members of The Community House Association and he admired the work they had been doing for decades in Lafayette. In 1901, with the help of investors, Duncan had started the highly successful Duncan Electrcal Manufacturing Company, which eventually became Landis+Gyr and continues very successfully today in Duncan’s adopted hometown.

Duncan Hall today is a 501c3 organization whose mission is to preserve the historic building so that it can provide a place for educational, cultural and celebratory events that enrich this community. It also provides educational programs that enhance citizenship, civility and character in Greater Lafayette.

Catering for the celebration is being donated by Adelino’s Old World Kitchen. The sponsors are Intac Mechanical Group, Landis+Gyr, Lafayette Printing and Journal & Courier. The event is free and open to the public. Reservations are required and may be confirmed by calling Duncan Hall by April 15 at (765) 742-4788.

On Sunday April 17, Scottish and other traditional music will ring out again in the hall as Christopher Layer presents “The Walking Way, A Concert with Christopher Layer and Friends”. The Washington Post calls Layer “A Jaw Dropping Virtuoso”. He will pay tribute to the Tippecanoe Ancient Fife and Drum Corps as well as the 42nd Royal Highlanders Pipe Band, formative influences on his highly successful international career. Layer is also pleased to be a part of honoring the memory of Thomas Duncan, whom he says “is considered one of great contributors to the cultural heritage of Lafayette, Indiana.”