This image of Western Grebes and their grebettes (what people sometimes call their chicks!) once graced the cover of a ca. 1950s souvenir menu from the Hotel du Pont, a historic hotel located in Wilmington, Delaware that opened in 1913.
The Hotel du Pont Company was organized on July 2, 1912, for the purpose of operating a hotel within the DuPont Building in downtown Wilmington. Pierre S. du Pont (1870-1954), one of the architects of the reorganized DuPont Company, was president, and his chief financial assistant, John J. Raskob (1879-1950), was secretary-treasurer.
The Hotel du Pont opened its doors to guests on January 15, 1913 with 150 guest rooms. The Hotel Company leased a section of the combined structure from the Du Pont Building Corporation. A separate subsidiary of the Building Corporation, The Play House Company, built and operated a 1300-seat theater within the same structure.
Both P.S. du Pont and John J. Raskob maintained suites at the hotel and other du Pont family members resided there for various periods of time. The hotel's ballrooms and restaurants were the scene of many company and family functions. Notable features were the Gold Ballroom, added in 1918, the Green Room, and the Brandywine Room of 1941.
On January 1, 1927, an agreement was made with the Bowman-Biltmore Hotels Corporation to operate the Hotel du Pont and the name was changed to Hotel du Pont-Biltmore. This agreement was cancelled In June 1933 and the operation reverted to the Hotel du Pont Company and the name was returned to Hotel du Pont. On June 30, 1934, The Hotel du Pont Company was dissolved, and its assets and liabilities were sold to the Du Pont Building Corporation.
The Du Pont Building Corporation was dissolved in turn on September 30, 1936, and its assets transferred to E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company. Since then, the hotel has been operated by managerial units of the DuPont Company: the Office Buildings Division (1936-1948), Office Buildings Department (1948-1953), General Services Department (1954-1971), Central Systems and Services Department (1971-1972), and General Services Department (1973-).
In the spring of 2015, after moving its headquarters out of the Du Pont Building, the DuPont Company began seeking a buyer for the hotel, which was sold to sold to a local developer, Buccini/Pollin, in January 2018.
This image is part of Hagley Library's collection of E.I du Pont de Nemours & Co. Inc. Central Systems & Services Dept. records (Accession 1972.422).