H. BAILEY CARROLL
SENRY B. DU PONT of Wilmington, Delaware, vice president
and member of the executive committee of E. I. du Pont
de Nemours and Company, began making transcontinental
trips in his own plane more than twenty years ago. At that
time he and his friends used to refer to the Southern Pacific
Railroad as their "iron compass" because the railroad marked
the trail from Texas across to the Pacific. In flying across
West Texas Du Pont was attracted to the Big Bend country.
He seems always to have had an innate love for outdoors,
and the great expanse of the Big Bend country captured his
imagination. As a matter of fact, the country provided an
outlet for both of his major hobbies--his interest in flying and
his interest in photography. Thus he began to fly over the Big
Bend area to note its unusual features and to photograph the
points of particular interest.
In order better to acquaint himself with the Big Bend area,
he made his first boat trip through the Rio Grande canyons in
February, 1941. A great deal of careful planning and prepara-
tion went into the expedition. Du Pont, Guy Skiles of Langtry,
Victor Bracher of San Antonio, and Dudley Dobie of San Mar-
cos made up the party. Travel was in two wooden boats with
an abundance of supplies including, of course, several cameras.
The party put in at Hot Springs just above Boquillas and
-iavigated Boquillas, Maravillas, Reagan, and San Francisco
anyons, having withal a delightful series of adventures. In
March, 1946, Du Pont was back in the Big Bend area when he,
Guy Skiles, Dudley Dobie, and Hugh Fifield of Connecticut
made a trip through Santa Helena Canyon, using a wooden boat
and a rubber raft. Numerous still shots as well as moving
pictures were made.
During the past summer a steak fry was arranged at Pro-
fessor Walter Prescott Webb's Friday Mountain Ranch, where
Du Pont showed movies of the Big Bend area and the Rio
Grande Canyon to Professor Webb, Roy Bedichek, Lou Kemp,
Dudley Dobie, and me. After a delightful evening it was sug-
gested to Du Pont that his interest in the Big Bend area of
Texas should be sufficient for him to set up through the Texas
State Historical Association a research project which would
look forward to the production of a manuscript dealing with
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101117/. Accessed July 6, 2015.