Collecting Delaware Books

Thomas Irons and the du Pont Highway

Thomas Irons published The Blue Hen's Chickens and Other Poems in 1913. It draws heavily on life in rural Kent County, especially Camden and Wyoming. As we drive the new Delaware Route 1 that swept away farmland and businesses and cross the canal on its $57-million bridge, it might be well to reread Irons' "The Great Wide Way," which deplored T. Coleman du Pont's new highway, which du Pont contributed to the state as an example of the finest engineering. It was later known as US 13 or the du Pont Highway. The poem begins —

The boulevard of du Pont fame — 
'Tis well there's nothing in a name,
For when we write the de Nemours
It seems to rhyme all right with poor — 
'Tis only seems, the world declares
The du Ponts all are millionaires.

After three pages of detailed grievances in similar verse about the new highway and the farmland it was destroying, he finishes —

Now we best pray, in road affairs,
Lord save us all from millionaires 
Or that we all may equal be,
Lord make us millionaires, our plea. 

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