South Carolina Department of Archives and History
National Register Properties in South Carolina

South Carolina State Arsenal, Charleston County (2 Tobacco St., Marion Square, Charleston)
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Facade Main Entrance Right Oblique Right Elevation Left Oblique
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Left Oblique Rear Elevation Right Rear

(The Old Citadel) The Old Citadel, which dominates Marion Square in the center of historic Charleston, has three-fold significance: Historically, in its origin as a State Arsenal and stronghold, the building of which in the mid-1820s was prompted by Charleston’s abortive black insurrection of 1822, the Denmark Vesey Plot; Architecturally, because of the exceptional use of semicircular arches of great thickness, unembellished by any architrave moldings around the face, and supported on massive Doric columns, the arches enclosing the rectangular courtyard giving the interior a picturesque quality; Educationally, as the South Carolina Military Academy, liberal arts military college established in 1842 by the State Legislature. Added historical significance come from occupation of the Old Citadel by Federal troops from 1865 to 1881 and from the part Citadel cadets played in the Civil War. The original appearance of the arsenal was a plain, two-story brick building with a wooden parapet. Bricks were laid in English bond, with interior arches enclosing a rectangular courtyard. The original architect was Frederick Wesner. From 1843, when the Citadel occupied the old arsenal, to 1922, when the campus was moved, the original building was twice made higher, and wings were added. These changes heightened the effect of the courtyard by superimposing two tiers of small arches above the original large spans, but the exterior lost its original character when it was altered by architect Edward B. White. Listed in the National Register July 16, 1970.

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