The renowned du Pont family began to establish themselves as a corporation when they created the Du Pont Company c.19th century in Wilmington, Delaware. As explained by the national park service, this company was involved in the manufacturing of gun powder, and quickly “became a world leader in the explosive industry.” Pierre S. du Pont stepped down in his role as president of the family business c.1919, and soon began philanthropies involving public education within the state of Delaware.
Realizing the need to provide public education for the African- American community, Pierre S. du Pont established a two million dollar trust fund, and personally constructed more than eighty schools within the state of Delaware. Built in 1923 by Pierre S du. Pont, the Iron Hill School #112C was used as an elementary school for the children of Iron Hill.
A copy of the Iron Hill School #112C appraisal can be seen on display today, and provides insight into the construction of the building. The c.1923 appraisal describes that the building was architecturally designed as a “one and one half story, no basement, frame shingle one classroom school building, peaked wood shingle roof, interior finish, wood lath and plaster walls and ceiling, wood floors, trim desks and seats attached.”
According to the national park service, the funds for the Iron Hill School #112C were “available to place the very best systems of heating, [and] running water for drinking purposes.” The thought of allowing natural light into the school house was taken into consideration during the construction of the building. Windows were strategically designed to face the western horizon, and therefore built to increase the amount of natural light within the schoolhouse.
Photographs of Pierre S. du Pont courtesy of the Hagley Museum & Library. Hagley Library regards the image HagleyID 1969_2_1057.tiff, portrait of Pierre S. du Pont to be in the public domain.
“Iron Hill School: An AFRICAN-AMERICAN One-Room SCHOOL (Teaching with Historic PLACES) (U.S. National PARK SERVICE).” National Parks Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, www.nps.gov/articles/iron-hill-school-an-african-american-one-room-school-teaching-with-historic-places.htm.