In 1920, the Hurcules Powder Co. bought 100 acres of land in Hattiesburg and began construction on its new chemical plant. In 1923 the $500,000 plant opened, employing between 250 and 300 people. The plant processed the stumps of pine trees left by the timber industry by grinding the stumps and extracting the rosin. In 1966 it changed its name to Hercules Inc. By the 1970s the plant employed about 1400 people, but beginning in the 1980s employment began to decline, until less than 100 people worked at the plant by the early 2000s. In 2008 the Hercules company, along with the Hattiesburg plant, was purchased for $3.3 billion by Ashland Inc. On February 25, 2009, Ashland announced it was closing the plant by the end of the year.
In 2011, Ashland was ordered to provide a plan to clean up the site after it was discovered that contaminates had been released into the environment. Since then work has continued on slowly demolishing the plant, and cleaning up the site, in particular about 4,400 yards of sludge in an impoundment basin.