When young Eleuthère Irénée du Pont escaped Revolutionary France in 1799 with his father and set sail for America, he never could have imagined what mark he and his family would leave on the state of Delaware and the entire Brandywine Valley. Mild mannered Eleuthère Irénée had studied as a chemist and worked in powder mills before he and his family were forced to escape the Reign of Terror, so when he began to establish himself in the New World, he stuck to what he knew. In 1802, just two years after landing first in Rhode Island, E. I. DuPont founded a black powder mill on the banks of the Brandywine Creek, just north of Wilmington. The location was ideal – the river provided power, the trees helped produce charcoal, the Delaware river and ports were nearby, and there were several gneiss quarries that would help him create the mills themselves. The rest, as they say, is history.
Over 50 years ago, that very first DuPont Family mansion, garden and the powder mills were transformed into a museum, called the Hagley Museum and Library. Now, you can tour the grounds and take in the history that helped the DuPont family create and secure their legacy.