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

Powder Magazine, Charleston County (79 Cumberland St., Charleston)
S1081771004301 S1081771004302 S1081771004303
Facade Left Oblique Right Oblique

The Powder Magazine is a visible reminder of the era of the Lord Proprietors and their founding government of the Carolinas, of the fortifications which protected the city and made Charleston one of three fortified cities on the eastern seaboard of British Colonial America. It is the oldest public building in the state of South Carolina. Originally, the Powder Magazine was a brick building with a four-sided pyramidal roof intersected by two gables on each side. The roof tile is a Mediterranean type similar to that used on some of Charleston’s oldest buildings. This magazine was completed in 1713. Shortly after completion, it was found not to be sufficient to preserve the powder from rain. Repairs were made in 1717, and in 1719 the magazine was used as a storage place for public powder, as well as storage for all merchants and individuals in the city who sold powder. Further repairs were completed by 1740, when the building was stuccoed. The walls are 32 inches thick and interior walls have original brick finish. The original floor was likely packed earth or brick. The one main room is approximately 27 ft. by 27 ft. and has a central column formed by the descending arches of the vaulted ceiling. During the Revolutionary War the magazine was again used as a public magazine. Listed in the National Register January 5, 1972; Designated a National Historic Landmark September 27, 1989.

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