History of DuPont
City history unfolds with the Native American, Hudson Bay Company, DuPont and Weyerhaeuser eras, and the impact and changes they made to what we now call DuPont.
Evidence shows that the Sequalitchew Nisqually, a vibrant indigenous people, existed here for over 5,700 years. The close proximity to the Puget Sound, rivers and grasslands provided shelter and ample resources for this thriving culture.
Early 19th century journals kept by the British owned Hudson Bay Company employees recorded the events of daily life at Fort Nisqually and interaction with local tribes. Fort Nisqually was initially a fur trading settlement and later expanded into agriculture and farming.
The first Americans arrived in this area in 1839 to establish the Nisqually Methodist Mission, but were forced to leave within three years because of hardship and illness. It was here that American teacher Chloe Clark married HBC employee William Holden Willson. Captain Wilkes and the 1841 US Exploring Expedition charted and explored this area for the American government. They built and observatory on a promontory overlooking the mouth of Sequalitchew Creek to map Southern Puget Sound. Many of our local landmarks are still known today by the names designated by this scientific expedition.
The all black cavalry regiment Buffalo Soldiers arrived at Camp Nisqually, located on the banks of the Sequalitchew Creek near what today is known as Center Drive in DuPont, Washington in 1904. The Buffalo Soldiers were ordered to bivouac at Camp Nisqually and join in with five National Guard units from Oregon, Washington, and Idaho for training maneuvers. All six units included 272 officers and 3739 enlisted men. This was the largest military gathering on the West Coast up to that time. It was the only military exercise to include an all-black regiment. The event was the genesis of a modern Joint Base Lewis McChord.
By 1906, hundreds of workers and their families called this area home after the E.I. DuPont de Nemours Company built an explosive manufacturing plant and Village, giving their name to DuPont. The explosives produced here were used for some of the world's largest construction projects including the Panama Canal and Grand Coulee Dam, as well as for munitions for both World Wars.
In 1951 DuPont became incorporated. Residents realized that incorporation was necessary after the DuPont Company donated water, sewer and electrical systems as well as several lots for parks to the town. The company also sold the houses to tenant employees.
Weyerhaeuser bought the 3,200-acre former explosives plant site in 1976 from the DuPont Company. Weyerhaeuser originally intended to use the property as the site for a wood products export facility. The market for lumber declined in the early 1980s and Weyerhaeuser changed its focus to land development in DuPont.
In 1989 the City Council approved plans for the construction of Weyerhaeuser's Northwest Landing, a residential, commercial and industrial development. The Village of DuPont grew from 601 inhabitants to today's approximately 9,175 residents. Today DuPont is made up of both the Historic Village and the modern Northwest Landing, creating a vibrant new community.
Want to learn more about the history of DuPont?
Visit the Dupont Museum website.