Monday, September 20th, 2021

LaFontaine Center holds fundraiser tea party

Posted: Thursday, October 26, 2017

A tea party was held at the LaFontaine Center on Wednesday, October 25 where more than 50 women attended. The event was held to help raise funds for an upcoming PBS documentary about the former Hotel LaFontaine. The documentary is scheduled to air on PBS in 2018.

Alison Reese, harpist, entertained the women with her music. Liz Sanders catered the event and prepared the tea, cucumber and chicken salad sandwiches and salmon pâté, while community members made scones and cookies. Silver tea pots were used to serve the tea.

The tea party was hosted by Huntington County historian, Jean Gernand, along with Marj Hiner and Jan Perkins. Matthew Murray, producer and director of the documentary, attended the event where he shared a seven minute segment of the film to all the women who attended the party.

Marilou Wardrop, who served on the decoration committee for the remodeled Hotel LaFontaine, discussed the history of the hotel. Wardrop said, “Gernand was giving a presentation in the ’80s and caught the attention of Don Purviance, a local business leader at that time. Don was intrigued and felt it would be a great help to Huntington to have it restored. He and wife, Emmy, then began the movement to restore the Hotel LaFontaine structure.”

Wardrop continued, “After submitting an application to the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the renovations, which was rejected, Emmy Purviance then contacted former Vice President Dan Quayle for some advice and help. Emmy then submitted her second application and was approved. Emmy was involved in every step of the renovation and because of her attitude and enthusiasm the massive project was completed.”

The Hotel LaFontaine through collaboration with the Historic Landmark Foundation of Indiana, is now the LaFontaine Center and an affordable housing community for senior adults.

So far $160,000 has been raised for the film with about $20,000 still needed. Those who would like to donate to the documentary, can send checks to the Huntington County Community Foundation, with LaFontaine Center Film Documentary written in the memo line, and mailed to P.O. Box 5037, Huntington, IN 46750. For more information contact the LaFontaine Center at (260) 356-9099.

Shown in the photo is Alison Reese entertaining the party-goers with her harp.