The Belin Works (or Belin Mill) of the Dupont Powder Company was located at the present day tract of land between I476 and the Wilkes Barre Scranton International Airport. In railroad terms, near Hillside Junction. It was named after the president of the company. Construction was started in 1910 to meet increasing demand for powder in the anthracite region. This large complex was purposely built far from populated areas due to the danger of the business. Buildings were constructed spread out for safety over 180 acres.
By 1912, the mill was in operation. Once production was sufficient, Dupont closed other nearby powder operations in Wapwallopen, PA and Wilmington, DE. Innumerable deaths happened at the site over the years from various explosions, mostly due to the nature of the materials.
The Belin Works operated until 1972. In the end, it still produced the same product as it did so many years ago, mostly still sold to the federal government. It was the last black powder plant operated by any company in the United States. It was sold to Gearhart-Owen, later GOEX, who continued operation as late as 1997, when two more fatalities occurred.
DuPont company photos from the 1940s showing the mill in operation. Hagley Museum and Library collection.
DuPont company aerial photos from the 1950s showing the vast operation. Hagley Museum and Library collection.
Photos after closing from the UGM collection.
Our photos from 2005 showing the remaining infrastructure at the site.
The New York Times Oct 7, 1972, Page 43
Pittston Gazette Apr 28, 1910, Page 2