Although DuPont first made an appearance in Old Hickory in 1918, the record keepers consider January, 1925 as the beginning of the DuPont-Old Hickory site.  In recent years, there has been confusion surrounding this anniversary date.   For clarification, the presence of DuPont in Old Hickory in 1918 was a contractual agreement with the United States Government to build and operate the powder plant.  It was not a sole DuPont venture.  However, Old Hickory village does count the powder plant years in its existence and did celebrate the 80 year mark.   

In the past, there have been some grand celebrations marking the anniversary of DuPont's presence in Old Hickory.  The following is a look at how different plants on site have marked time as well as how Old Hickory - DuPont has marked time. 

Most DuPont-Old Hickory anniversaries have been marked with the publication of a souvenir booklet and a picnic.  For the first 60 years of existence, this site's rate of picnicking equaled today's rate of meetings.   Note:  we did not celebrate 75 years.

Rayon Celebrates Silver

Greenewalt's letter appears in this Old Hickory Rayon 25th Anniversary Booklet

Old Hickory Businesses all exhibited their "congratulations" in their store front displays. 

A Letter from C.H. Greenwalt, president of DuPont 1950

To the Men and Women of Old Hickory:

The growth of your plant and your community over these twenty-five years is a fine example of the intelligent and aggressive team effort that has made America great.

After World War I, Old Hickory became little more than a ghost city.  At that time the businessmen of middle Tennessee promptly launched plans for saving Old Hickory and for making it an important industrial-residential center.  Du Pont was interested in expanding its facilities for manufacturing new fibers.  Old Hickory provided a good location.  And so began another industrial adventure. 

All of you have seen what great benefits that venture has brought to your community.  Your two products, rayon and cellophane, have come from very modest beginnings to assume an important part in the American economy.  Their development has produced jobs not only in your plant but in the many hundreds of plants of customers who convert those raw materials to the products that finally reach the customer.  Your community has grown and prospered also and bears little resemblance to the war town of 1918.

All of us in du Pont take pride in this achievement.  Like so many industrial accomplishments the developments at Old Hickory have resulted from effective, harmonious teamplay among many individuals - chemists, engineers, operators, salesmen, and others --  all working toward a desirable and important objective.

In this year of 1950 as we mark the happy occasion of Old Hickory's silver anniversary, it is my privilege to convey to you the greetings and congratulations of the entire du Pont organization.

- C. H. Greenewalt


DuPont Cavalcade of America Comes to Help Celebrate Rayon Silver

In 1935 DuPont hired Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn (BBD&O) to change DuPont's image from "the powder people" to "peace time manufacturer." A corporate advertising campaign was launched promoting DuPont's role in improving daily life with the slogan "Better Things for Better Living . Through Chemistry." 

The campaign's cornerstone was the DuPont-sponsored weekly radio show, Cavalcade of America, featuring historical vignettes that portrayed traits like perseverance and ingenuity as traditionally American. In 1952 Cavalcade made the jump to television and began to take on more contemporary subjects. 

The Cavalcade of America ran from October 9, 1935 to March 31, 1953.


Rayon Yarns - February 1950

Movie stars Joan Caulfield and John Lund cheerfully pose on the birthday cake in the main cafeteria to exemplify the spirit of our 25th Anniversary Celebration.  Picture was made during the tour through the plant of the cast of "Cavalcade of America" on January 10.  The nation-wide Du Pont radio program, broadcast that night from Ryman auditorium in Nashville, honored our plant in its Silver Jubile.  

Note:  Joan Caulfield is best known for her leading role opposite Bing Crosby in the movie, "Blue Skies" and "Holiday Inn".  The latter is the movie that turned Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" into what it is today.    John Lund was also a big screen name of the 1940s and 50s who has many film titles to his credit.


Lines four to five blocks to length filed into the historic Ryman auditorium for the first dress rehearsal. "Cavalcade" was presented to four audiences with rehearsals on Sunday and Monday afternoons, January 8 and 9, and two broadcasts on Tuesday, January 10. Over 16,000 Du Pont employees, their families and friends witnessed the dramatic presentation of the story of Sam Davis, Middle Tennessee's own hero of the Confederacy. In addition to being thrilled by the play itself, the audiences heard the inside story of the work and time involved in presenting these weekly broadcasts, thus giving them an added appreciation of future "Cavalcade" programs.  
On Monday, January 9 the Honorable Gordon Browning, Governor of Tennessee, visited the plant. He is shown here as he addressed a group gathered in the main cafeteria just prior to officially turning on the birthday candles on the cake in the Technical Sections' display.

Cellophane Celebrates Silver

A Letter from C.H. Greenwalt, president of DuPont 1951


The history of cellophane is a success story written by creative human enterprise.  As the Old Hickory Plant arrives at its Silver Anniversary, du Pont people across the nation share your pride in the achievements of the past quarter-century.

Old Hickory people have seen at firsthand the vigorous, behind-the-scenes effort that brings a modern chemical product to maturity.  In its early days, cellophane represented a tremendous risk of financial and human resources; it was a luxury item, untried in the marketplace and far more expensive than its competitors for customer favor.

When du Pont chemists found a way to make the film moistureproof, they opened the door to a new era.  The Old Hickory Plant was a direct outgrowth of this achievement, for the use of cellophane was multiplied many times and demand grew steadily.  In the quarter-century that followed, constant process improvements, new methods and equipment, pioneering sales efforts and services to customers - all have spurred the film's growth, adding new jobs and new opportunities.  

The prime ingredient of success has been the blended skill, enthusiasm and know-how of du Pont employees - chemists, engineers, operators, salesmen, and office workers alike.  To all of them, for their parts in authoring the story of cellophane, it is my privilege to extend the congratulations of the du Pont people everywhere. 

C.H. Greenewalt - 1951

Other Mile Stones 

DMT marked it's silver anniversary with a publications and a dinner for all DMT retirees and employees. 

Year 50 was marked with a special publication, while year 60 saw the installation of a time capsule and a picnic at Hermitage Landing (now Nashville Shores).  Installing the capsule are (l to r) Alan Simpson, Kizzie Stout, and Site Manager W.B. Jones.  The capsule contains plant memorabilia. It is to be opened in the year 2025 when the site turns 100 years old.  Kizzie was the site's senior employee at the time and Alan was the author of the winning anniversary slogan.  

Front of Sontara® Anniversary Booklet

Sontara® Turns 20

A Letter from E.S. Woolard, DuPont Chairman of the Board - 1993

Dear Team Members:

It's a sincere pleasure to congratulate each of you on the Sontara® team as you celebrate your 20th anniversary.

Sontara® has made tremendous progress from a struggling start-up of twenty years ago to a strong and strategic business today.  Over the years, you've proven that you can make tough decisions to stay competitive, and I greatly admire the commitment you have shown to making the business grow and prosper.

The business world continues to become more difficult, but I'm highly encouraged by your determination and will to succeed.  you can be proud that your hard work and spirit of cooperation have paid off in strong financial performance and an optimistic future with plans for continued investment around the world.


E.S. Woolard, Jr.  - April 5, 1993