The DuPont Plant and its fleets of trains supplied some of the largest construction projects in history including the Grand Coulee Grand, the Alaska Highway (Alcan Highway) and the Panama Canal. The plant helped meet the demands of WWI with a black powder facility and a nitrostarch factory. During WWII, the plant manufactured millions of pounds of explosives for forces in the Pacific.
1906 E.I. duPont deNemours Company purchased nearly five square miles of the land for the manufacture of black powder and high explosives. Tar-paper shacks housed the construction crew.
1909 Operations at the plant began, as did construction of permanent homes for employees. The Company Town, which had its own school district, newspaper and post office by 1909 grew to 100 houses, a church, school, butcher shop, hotel and club house.
1910 DuPont Company constructed a railroad and wharf for shipping dynamite. The area is a natural deep-water port.
The DuPont Company had a fleet of narrow-gauge locomotives and cars to deliver materials and explosives between the old DuPont Powderworks Plant and the Puget Sound.
All of this product was transported by narrow-gauge trains down to ships at the DuPont Wharf. The 36” gauge railway was selected by the DuPont Company to provide reliable transportation within its plant area and to the wharf on Puget Sound. Narrow gauge railways were a known reliable means of transportation, and most importantly, would provide the quality of ride required of the transport of explosives. It was much safer to transport explosives by rail or ships versus trucks or wagons going over pot-holed trails or roads. Trains from the DuPont Plant snaked their way down their steep north canyon wall of Sequalitchew Creek. The grade was steep, as the drop in elevation down to Puget Sound is approximately 300 ft.
The flume and dam shown in the 1920's was created by the DuPont Co. in the early 20's to divert the water to the power house
The DuPont Company in ca. 1910 constructed the facility along with some large storage tanks. The flume which came from the pump house to a surge tank , then a 275ft – 300ft long pressure flume pipe to the Powerhouse. During a January winter in 1925 a washout occurred with damaged trestle and flume.
Light gauge rail tunnel to the former wharf.
Old powder works wharf remnants.
Light gauge rail tracks leading to the waters edge.