Reick family rendition of
1843 Fort site (circa 1978)
Powder Works Plant (1909);
Museum Photo Collection
Historic Timeline of DuPont, Washington
Post Ice Age: For thousands of years, the DuPont area plains and salmon-rich Sequalitchew Creek provided food and home for the Sequalitchew-Nisqually Indians who lived at the mouth of the creek. Carbon dating of shells at a local midden site shows human life thriving here 5,700 years ago.
1792: This land was first seen by outsiders when British Captain George Vancouver and his party of explorers came into the Sound.
1832: The area to become Fort Nisqually was sighted by Hudson’s Bay Company Chief Trader, Archibald McDonald. With the cooperation of the Sequalitchew Nisqually Tribe, his expedition built the Nisqually House, a storehouse for blankets, seeds and potatoes, at the mouth of the Sequalitchew Creek.
1833: The British owned Hudson’s Bay Company established its first fur trading post, Fort Nisqually, in Puget Sound. A diverse workforce of Native Americans, Hawaiians, British, Scottish, French Canadians, and U.S. citizens lived and traded in relative peace.
1837: The SS Beaver was the first steamship in Puget Sound. Owned by the Hudson’s Bay Company and commanded by Captain William McNeill, the sturdy side-wheeler carried passengers and cargo throughout Puget Sound and Russia’s Alaska settlements.
1839: The Nisqually Methodist Episcopal Mission was established by Dr. Richmond bringing the first U.S. citizens into the Puget Sound region. Because of hardship and illness, the mission was abandoned in 1842. Chloe Clark was the first school teacher to this area. The Hudson’s Bay Company’s farming enterprises were expanded in 1839, and a subsidiary called Puget Sound Agricultural Company was formed.
1841: The U.S. Exploring Expedition led by Lt. Wilkes brought the second group of U.S. citizens to the Puget Sound. They set up an observatory on the bluff to survey, map, and chart the waters of Puget Sound. The Wilkes Expedition held the first Fourth of July celebration in the Puget Sound region on the Mission Prairie. The celebration was held on July 5th, as the Fourth fell on a Sunday.
1843: The second Fort Nisqually was built inland on a flat plain approximately one mile to the east of the original Fort Nisqually, near the banks of the Sequalitchew Creek.
1846: The Oregon Treaty established the 49th Parallel as the boundary between British Canada and the United States, which left Fort Nisqually on U.S. territory.
1860: The exact year Pierce County School District #7 was created is unknown, but 1860 was the first year it received funds from the county. It is unlikely the district was very old at that time, and children were taught in the homes of neighbors. By the mid-1860s there were 34 children in DuPont, and the first school, located in the current-day Iafrati Park, was built from donations by local families.
1869: The U.S. government purchased the 1843 Fort Nisqually site and other lands claimed by the Hudson’s Bay Company, and the fort officially closed in 1870. The last person in charge of the fort, Edward Huggins, and his family stayed and homesteaded the fort site.
1904: First joint Army-National Guard training exercises on the West Coast were held near Sequalitchew Creek and included the “Buffalo Soldiers” 9th Calvary from Walla Walla.
1906: E.I DuPont deNemours Company in Wilmington, Delaware, purchased approximately five square miles of land for the manufacture of black powder and high explosives. Tar paper houses were built on and around the 1843 fort site to house the plant construction crew.
1909: DuPont Powder Works Plant started operating, and new construction of permanent homes for employees began. The Company Town, which had its own school district, newspaper, and post office in 1909, grew to over 100 houses, a church, school, butcher shop, hotel, and club house.
1910: The DuPont Company constructed a wharf and narrow-gauge railroad for shipping dynamite and other products.
1934: The Fort Nisqually Granary (the oldest building on Puget Sound) and the Factor's House were moved to the reconstructed Fort Nisqually site in Point Defiance Park by the Young Men’s Business Club of Tacoma. Black Locust trees, raised from seed brought from England, are all that remain on the original fort site in DuPont. An archaeological dig was done by Pacific Lutheran University in 1987; the site was fenced and given to the Archaeological Conservancy in 1993.
1951: DuPont was officially incorporated as a city with approximately 600 residents. The first incorporation in 1912 allowed liquor to be sold at the club and was unincorporated during prohibition. DuPont Company started selling the company-owned homes to the employees who lived there.
1976: Weyerhaeuser Company purchased all 3,200 acres of DuPont Company property.
1987: The company town area, known as “The Village,” was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and became a Historic District.
1989: The DuPont City Council approved plans for the construction of Weyerhaeuser’s Northwest Landing, a residential, commercial, and industrial development. Officials projected the city's population to increase from 601 residents to over 12,000 when completed. Northwest Landing's first home owners, Pat and Gilbert Goodhind, moved in 1994.
2009: City Government moved from the Historic Village into the newly-constructed Civic Center in Northwest Landing.