In September 1956 the E.I. DuPont Company purchased thousands of
acres in Transylvania and Henderson counties to build the first full-scale
silicon plant in the United States. 
Located north of the Cedar Mountain community, the area provided
unpolluted air and clean water from the Little River which was required for the
production of hyper-pure silicon.

Methanol Condenser being moved into place by a crane.  The gearbox at

the lower left is for the extruder that force polymer through the filters.

Silicon was used for electronic devices such as radios,
televisions and telephone switchboards.  It was a booming industry in the
late 1950s.  However, within just a few years demand was down and DuPont
decided to close its silicon production. 
Rather than closing the site though, they expanded and constructed a
larger plant for x-ray film which officially began operation in May 1964.

DuPont continued to grow over the next three decades with several
major expansions throughout the 1960s and early 1970s.  At its peak in the
1980s DuPont employed nearly 1500 people.

In mid-1968 the Brevard DuPont Plant began publishing a company
newsletter sharing information about the facility, its products, the employees
and the surrounding community.  A contest was held to name the newsletter.
 The most frequently suggested name was “The X-Ray”.  “Photo Facts”
was the second most suggested, but the winner was a variation by Maintenance
Foreman Tom Walker who submitted, “Fotofax”.  

The Continuous Polymerization area enclosed with as the result of

climatological data failure–colder than anticipated temperatures.

It was permanently enclosed in 1964.

The lead story in the first issue covered the 10 year anniversary
of the Brevard Plant and included numerous photos of employees sharing their
work with their families.  The issue also
included “From the Banks of Brandywine to a Brevard Mountain Top” the story of
how Eleuthere Irenee du Pont de Nemours, a French immigrant and the company’s
founder, got his start manufacturing gunpowder in Wilmington, Delaware in the
early 1800s.

Future issues tell of company improvements and expansions, safety
measures, cost reduction programs and employee retirements or promotions.  There are also stories about the care and
management of the property including controlled burns, reforestation projects
and the role of the company forest ranger.

A major part of employees’ life centered around not just their
jobs but enjoying the opportunities offered to them and their families through
the Plant and the extensive property.  
The DuPont Employees Recreation Association (D.E.R.A.) planned
activities ranging from bowling teams to the annual company picnic.  They administered the use of the Guion
property and designated hunting and fishing areas.  “Fotofax” is full of information and
photographs about activities and events.

The publication never had a regular schedule—issues varied from
two to twelve per year, with four to six most years.  In June 1988 they
published FOTOFAX 100, the one-hundredth and final issue.  Recently all
issues have been made available online at  Whether
reliving memories or learning about this era of the DuPont State Recreational Forest’s
history this resource provides a wealth of information.

Photographs and information for this column are provided
by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room, Transylvania County Library. 
Visit the NC Room during regular library hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more
about our history and see additional photographs.  For more information,
comments, or suggestions contact Marcy at [email protected]
or 828-884-1820.

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(828) 884-3151

212 S Gaston St, Brevard, NC 28712