The main impetus for development in the area came when the Atlanta and Richmond Airline Railway began operations between Spartanburg and Greenville.
(Spartanburg County; 2020 pop. 3,715). Duncan was chartered by the General Assembly on December 24, 1890, and rechartered by the secretary of state on August 15, 1896. It was named after Leroy Duncan (1836–1881) of Spartanburg County, who owned most of the land in the area. Prior to its charter under that name, the area had been served by post offices known as New Hope (ca. 1811) and Vernonsville (ca. 1854). The main impetus for development in the area came when the Atlanta and Richmond Airline Railway began operations between Spartanburg and Greenville. In 1874 Leroy Duncan purchased land where the railroad and Gap Creek Road intersected. The area was then alternatively known as Duncan’s Crossing or Duncans. By the mid-1880s the population had climbed to about two hundred residents. A telephone exchange was chartered in 1909 with between fifty and seventy-five subscribers. In 1914 the town was served by an electric train line, the Piedmont and Northern, which allowed people to commute to and from Greenville, Spartanburg, and Greer. In the late twentieth century, research and manufacturing provided hundreds of jobs in Duncan. W. R. Grace and Company opened a research center in 1963 to develop flexible packaging materials under the Cryovac name. The opening of the German automobile company BMW’s assembly plant at nearby Greer in 1994 brought new opportunities to Duncan as well.
Hughes, Nell, and Frederick Tucker. Pictorial History of Old Duncan. Greenville, S.C.: A Press, 1998.