What single Puget Sound location outshines the historical significance of all others in this area? The answer would have to be DuPont.
Back in “the day” this small community’s newspaper was known as “The Villager,” and resident May Munyon was its publisher/editor.
The combination of the autumn scent of wood-fired smoke drifting over the lower Puget Sound region (apple wood, from a popular nearby pizza eatery, of course!) blended with an early September misty rain falling over the region, made it a good day to tour Northwest Landing and the old City of DuPont.
Northwest Landing, a late 20th century company town created next to the much-earlier Company Town of DuPont (the explosives manufacturing enterprise, created in 1906), today serves as home for nearby Joint Base Lewis McChord personnel, as well as assorted manufacturing companies such as Intel, State Farm and Amazon.
The city’s history technically began in 1832 when members of the Hudson’s Bay Company established a post in the area. About seven years later, a group of American Missionaries arrived, with the intention of establishing an American presence in the region.
By 1869 the HBC site was formally sold to the U.S. Government, and in 1904 the first joint Army-National Guard training exercises were held near Sequalitchew Creek. The Buffalo Soldiers of the 9th Cavalry were included in that early encampment.
Two years later the E. I. duPont de Nemours Company purchased nearly five square miles of land, intending to manufacture black powder and dynamite (used extensively in the construction of mega- projects such as Grand Coulee Dam). Workers in that earliest of area Company Towns lived in tarpaper homes. The company town lasted until 1951 when DuPont officially incorporated as a city, with 600 residents. In 1987 the old town, known as “The Village” was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Weyerhaeuser Company purchased all 3,200 acres of the DuPont Company property, and by 1989 the planned community legacy continued with the construction of Northwest Landing, a large residential, commercial and industrial development.
By 2009, DuPont children attended schools that were part of Historic Steilacoom School District No. 1.
DuPont’s history museum that incorporates exhibits from its Ft. Nisqually days through the first company town and The Village days, to today’s Northwest Landing continually growing period (two golf courses, for example), is located a short distance (Exit 119) from I-5 through the old company town gate posts along Barksdale Avenue. The Museum, at 207 Barksdale is located in a former butcher shop and includes displays about the explosives manufacturing process—as well as an outside display of the original explosives train—and a large exhibit of education in the community.
The Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p. m. Tuesday through Friday, and from 1-4 p.m. on Sunday. It is closed on holidays. Phone 253-964-2399 or visit www.DuPontMuseum.com for more information.Print This Post