Front porch of the
DuPont Historical Museum
Edward Huggins' Home,
Last Factor of the HBC
(Museum Photo Collection)
(click image to enlarge)
Hudson's Bay Company
From 1833 to 1870 the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC), a British corporation, operated a trading post called Fort Nisqually in the DuPont area. Initially involved in fur trading, it later established the Puget Sound Agricultural Company, a farming enterprise. Fort Nisqually was the first long-term Euro-American settlement on Puget Sound. It brought new ideas and technology to the region. Close economic and social ties connected the Company’s multicultural workers and Native Americans.
Citizens of the United States began to enter the DuPont area in the 1840s. American missionaries established the Nisqually Methodist mission school, which operated from 1839-42. In 1841 U.S. explorer Charles Wilkes set up an observatory to survey, map, and chart the Puget Sound waters and organized the first celebration of American Independence Day north of the Columbia River. Settlers from the United States started arriving later in the decade.
Edward Huggins, last manager of Fort Nisqually, homesteaded the site after the fort closed. In 1906 he sold his land holdings to the DuPont Company, which constructed an explosives plant and company town. For decades this company produced civilian and military explosives that were used around the world. Since the DuPont Company ended local operations in 1976, the City of DuPont has seen a period of change and growth. Weyerhaeuser’s master-planned community has increased DuPont’s population from 601 residents in 1994 to today’s 9300 residents ... and growing!
For more information about the Hudson's Bay Company and the life of Edward Huggins, read "Edward Huggins: An Englishman at Fort Nisqually" by Jennifer Crooks (published on SouthSoundTalk.com).