Ches. City honors du Pont legacy with proclamation
— On Monday night, the town officially recognized the impact of du Pont family members, who
have long been a fixture within the waterfront town, particularly in the mid-20th century as Allaire and Richard du Pont helped jumpstart a revitalization of the historic town.
Despite coming from the well-known family, Allaire and Richard carved out a local relationship with the town. The pair could often be seen flying airplanes over the town — and the legend goes that Allaire, an expert pilot, once flew under the Chesapeake City Bridge.
After Richard’s death, Allaire became even more involved in the town and the equestrian lifestyle, famously raising the thoroughbred racehorse Kelso, a five-time Horse of the Year winner in the 1960s that won 39 lifetime races. She was frequently seen walking Chesapeake City’s streets with her dog, Tank, and invested heavily in the revitalization of the town in the 1980s, buying and restoring South Chesapeake City’s old taverns and canal houses, including what is today the Bayard House.
Carrying on her parents’ efforts today is Helena “Lana” du Pont Wright, owner of Unicorn Farm & Stables south of town, who is renowned for her impact of equestrian sports. In January, she received the U.S. Equestrian Federation Lifetime Achievement Award for her decades-long career in horse racing.
Wright is credited with helping to break the gender barrier at the Olympics, becoming the first woman to compete on a U.S. three-day eventing team at the 1964 Olympics in Japan, earning the silver medal. Later, she won the team gold medal at the 1991 Paris Driving World Championships in Austria.
She has also focused her attention on endurance racing — something she’s had a passion for since she was a young girl, completing a three-day, 100-mile trail ride on horseback after graduating from high school “for fun.” Wright also combined her love of equestrian sports’ many disciplines by helping run Fair Hill International, which, based in Cecil County, is one of the premier American competitions, for many years.
After recognizing Wright and her parents’ contributions to the town, Chesapeake City Mayor Dean Geracimos declared May 9 to be “Lana du Pont Wright Day” by proclamation.
“The entire du Pont family has always been such an unbelievable fixture here in Chesapeake City for years,” he said. “They were really the savior of the town in the 1980s and have been an unbelievably gracious family from Day One.”
Geracimos also said that the town hopes to one day better promote the efforts by the du Ponts in a museum setting. With plans to build a new Chesapeake City Elementary School off Route 213, town officials have discussed using the existing school as a new town hall and museum, he said.
“We would absolutely have a du Pont room in such a museum,” he added.
Chesapeake City Mayor Dean Geracimos (right) poses with Lana du Pont Wright (center) and her family after proclaiming Monday as “Lana du Pont Wright Day.”