DuPont Things to Do
I have not yet had a chance to visit this museum, but the information and photographs provided on their web site are extremely useful for those wanting to learn more about the history of the city, dating from before written history and the time of the first nations tribes, the long history of manufacturing explosives, and some more recent events.
The museum also has considerable information on its web site regarding the history of the location going back to the Fort Nisqually and Hudson's Bay Company days.
Museum hours are Weds, Fri and Sun 1-4pm, Thurs 11am-4pmRelated to:
- Museum Visits
- Historical Travel
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What is now DuPont has a long and involved history going back deep into the unwritten depths of Native American history, with even quite a bit of the early settler's history unwritten or otherwise lost to time.
It is known that near the point where Sequalitchew Creek enters Puget Sound, there was once a Nisqually settlement. Near this settlement in 1832 the Hudson's Bay Company built their first trading house, which was later replaced by a more substantial fort, which was yet again relocated in 1843.
What is now DuPont also served as the home operating base of what has been called the Wilkes Expedition, which was a circle the globe expedition from the USA that provided names for many geographic features in Puget Sound.
Normally, I would put this into the "Traditions and Customs" tip category, but to understand the importance of the history of the site now known by a chemical company's name it is best to do a bit of further reading. That way, it is possible to gain a bit of understanding as to why it would be important to visit this location, and why even though much of the important history is buried in the ground or otherwise not visible it is still a remarkable site in the history of Washington, and for those interested in exploring further a visit to DuPont and reading up a bit on the history of the site go hand in hand.
The DuPont Museum (covered in a separate "Things to Do" Tip) has a collection of material on its web site that describe the historic significance of the location. Some of the most interesting material is contained in a series of brief history pages called Homework Helpers.
The basic web site for the museum is
Some of the interesting history pages on the museum web site include:
The Native American Era:
The Hudson's Bay Company Era:
The Wilkes Exploring Expedition:
However, there is quite a lot of material on their web site, and these are only some of the highlights of a fairly extensive web site describing the history of the location. To learn more be sure to explore thoroughly this web site, which I consider very good for a tiny historical museum in a small town.
DuPont Visitor's Information Web Site
For those seeking information about exploring the city of DuPont as it exists today, there is the web site operated by the City of DuPont as a source of Visitor's Information:
However, it should be noted that this web site features only a touch of historical information, but instead is entirely focused on what a visitor will find today in DuPont.
Bringing the Past into the Future:
Another web site that contains quite a bit of DuPont historical information is operated by a group called "Save The History", which was inspired by considerable development plans for some of the historical sites in DuPont. Among other things, this group aims to take the past and bring it into DuPont's future, through preservation efforts and other elements aimed at using DuPont's substantial history to make it into a city that is more than just another Tacoma suburb. With their concern for preserving history for the future, their web site also has interesting historical tidbits on it, as well as more recent news and information.
There web site is:
- Historical Travel
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As far as I am concerned, the trail system that has been installed in, through, surrounding and around DuPont is one of its substantial treasures, and is the one thing that makes visiting this small community well worth a stop.
It may be useful for you to obtain the DuPot City Trails map and guide that is in the photograph. I found this guide in a literature rack in Tacoma, and have not yet found a place in DuPont that actually has these - but since I already have one I haven't looked that hard yet. A version of the map is also available on the VisitDuPont web site below. Select recreation and then Hiking and Biking Trails.
The trails are quite well marked with signs, though familiarity with the community and a trail map would certainly not hurt as some of the references are not easy for an outsider to know.
Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trails, though there are some that use gasoline ATVs on the trails anyway. Any domesticated animals must be on leashes, and owners are required to clean up after their pets.
There are currently some 12 miles (20 km) of trails through this tiny city, with plans for more for future expansion.
The most attractive of the trails is the approximately 1.25 mile (2.5 km) Sequalitchew Creek trail, which runs through old second growth forests in a canyon that descends to Puget Sound and a small beach. This is built on the old railway line that connected the DuPont explosives plant to the dock on Puget Sound. Steep water side walls and the main line railroad along Puget Sound makes this part of Puget Sound relatively inaccessible, so that the beach at the bottom is fairly quiet except for where it can be accessed from DuPont along this trail.
The Photos and What They Show:
Photo 1: The Sequalitchew Creek Trail is a true hidden gem wandering downhill from DuPont to Puget Sound.
Photo 2: This is the trail map of DuPont, Washington that is available in a number of locations. Opened up on the inside the map of the city and the trails, plus local points of interest and history, are quite useful.
Photo 3: In order for you to find the trail map in the literature rack of the various locations (including places as far away as Tacoma) this is what the trails map looks like when it is folded up and put on the tourist information rack.
Photo 4: Some of the trails are flat and through dense forest.
Photo 5: Trails have a variety of signs on them, but are nevertheless reasonably well marked.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
DuPont Off The Beaten Path
During the years that DuPont manufactured explosives here, they used a network of narrow gauge railway lines to move materials around inside the plant, and from the plant to the wharf on Puget Sound below the cliff. For the most part, the old right of way and the trails and roads created on the old roadbeds are the only remains of this once fairly dense network of railway lines covering this small area of land.
There are traces of old track at the DuPont Wharf, but it is likely those remains will vanish quickly over time as antique seekers take pieces of the line for their own collections.
One train (a locomotive and a few freight cars) has been preserved, as well as a short section of track. This is the only officially preserved remnant of the DuPont railway. It is located under a sheltered roof and behind a fence to prevent pilfering of the parts by antique hunters. The structure and the train it preserves is located behind the DuPont Museum and neighboring Robinson Park, along a trail that is built on the old right of way - yes, this preserved section of railway is exactly where it was when the railway was operating. It isn't a special display track that didn't exist as part of the original line.
The web site below is for the DuPont Historical Museum.
How to Get Here:
Interstate 5 Exit 119 leads directly into the oldest part of what used to be the company town. The main road you enter in is Barksdale Avenue. You will pass Iafrati Park on the left, cross the trail built on the railway line, Robinson Park on the right, and then the historical society museum on the right. The next right turn is Forcite Street. The train is visible on the right just after making the turn.
Though, in reality, I highly suggest finding a place to park and doing this on foot, as it isn't a very satisfactory place to try to drive past.Related to:
- Museum Visits
- Historical Travel
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