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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Charleston in Charleston County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

The Old Powder Magazine

 
 
The Powder Magazine Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael Sean Nix, February 13, 2010
1. The Powder Magazine Marker
Inscription.
The Old Powder Magazine
is the only public building remaining from the era of the Lords Proprietors, the eight English aristocrats who owned Carolina from 1670 to 1719.
Charles Town, as the capital and southernmost English settlement on the continent, was strategically important. The town was repeatedly attacked by pirates, marauding Spanish naval vessels, and Indians. Along with the high walls and a moat that surrounded Charles Town, the Powder Magazine, as the principal storehouse of munitions and gunpowder, was crucial for the defense of the city.

 
Marker series. This marker is included in the National Historic Landmarks marker series.
 
Location. 32° 46.772′ N, 79° 55.806′ W. Marker is in Charleston, South Carolina, in Charleston County. Marker is on Cumberland Street 0.1 miles west of Church Street, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 79 Cumberland Street, Charleston SC 29401, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 10 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Revolutionary Artillery (here, next to this marker); Trott's Cottage (a few steps from this marker); The Nicholas Trott House (a few steps from this marker); Powder Magazine Flags
The Powder Magazine Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael Sean Nix, February 13, 2010
2. The Powder Magazine Marker
Image of old map
(a few steps from this marker); The Two Cannons (a few steps from this marker); Site of the First Methodist Church (a few steps from this marker); Richard Hutson (within shouting distance of this marker); John Caldwell Calhoun (within shouting distance of this marker); Colonel William Rhett (within shouting distance of this marker); The Independent or Congregational Church of Charlestown (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Charleston.
 
Regarding The Old Powder Magazine. 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
The Old Powder Magazine Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, September 20, 2011
3. The Old Powder Magazine Marker
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. (South Carolina Department of Archives and History)
 
Also see . . .
1. Powder Magazine. 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. (Submitted on October 7, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

2. Powder Magazine. The Powder Magazine - South Carolina's Oldest Public
The Powder Magazine Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael Sean Nix, February 13, 2010
4. The Powder Magazine Marker
Building. (Submitted on October 7, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

3. "New" Powder Magazine 1737. Charleston's first purpose-built storehouse for gunpowder was the Old Powder Magazine, within the town's fortification wall on today's Cumberland Street. (Submitted on October 7, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

4. Lords Proprietor > Carolina. There were eight Lords Proprietor of the Province of Carolina (by 1729, when seven of their descendants, all but the heir of Carteret, sold their shares to the Crown, it was split into two provinces: North and South Carolina). (Submitted on October 7, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 
 
Additional comments.
1. Text from The Powder Magazine sign concerning the cannons
The two cannons displayed in front of the Powder Magazine are Revolutionary-era pieces that were found in the Charleston area. Referred to as field guns, the weapons would have been mounted on wheeled carriages for greater mobility.


Each cannon is stamped with a "GR." The letters refer to "Georgius Rex," Latin for King George. In this case the term is probably referring to George III (r.1760-1820). On the cannon on the left, notice the arrow mark. The mark indicated that the weapon was
The Powder Magazine National Register of Historic Landmark 1989 image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, October 6, 2011
5. The Powder Magazine National Register of Historic Landmark 1989
National Register of Historic Places: Powder Magazine *** (added 1972 - - #72001200)
♦ Historic Significance: Architecture/Engineering, Event
♦ Area of Significance: Architecture, Military
♦ Period of Significance: 1700-1749
♦ Historic Function: Defense
(Listed in the National Register January 5, 1972; Designated a National Historic Landmark September 27, 1989)
government property. Originally, both cannons would have had this mark but later a repair mark obscured it on the right cannon.
    — Submitted February 15, 2010, by Michael Sean Nix of Spartanburg, South Carolina.

2. The Lords Proprietors
  • John Berkeley, 1st Baron Berkeley of Stratton (1607–1678)
  • Sir William Berkeley, Governor of Virginia (1606–1677)
  • Sir George Carteret, 1st Baronet (c.1610–1680)
  • Sir John Colleton, 1st Baronet (1608–1666)
  • Anthony Ashley Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury (1621–1683)
  • William Craven, 1st Earl of Craven (1608–1697)
  • George Monck, 1st Duke of Albemarle (1608–1670)
  • Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon (1609–1674)
        — Submitted October 7, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.

     
    Categories. Colonial EraNotable BuildingsSettlements & Settlers
     
    The Old Powder Magazine<br>National Historic Landmark Marker image. Click for full size.
    By Brian Scott, September 20, 2011
    6. The Old Powder Magazine
    National Historic Landmark Marker
    The Powder Magazine image. Click for full size.
    By Michael Sean Nix, February 13, 2010
    7. The Powder Magazine
    circa 1713
    A National Historic Landmark
    owned & operated by
    The National Society of
    The Colonial Dames of America
    in the State of South Carolina
    The Old Powder Magazine image. Click for full size.
    By Brian Scott, September 20, 2011
    8. The Old Powder Magazine
    The Powder Magazine image. Click for full size.
    By Michael Sean Nix, February 13, 2010
    9. The Powder Magazine
    The Powder Magazine image. Click for full size.
    By Michael Sean Nix, February 13, 2010
    10. The Powder Magazine
    Pillory and old cannon image. Click for full size.
    By Michael Sean Nix, February 13, 2010
    11. Pillory and old cannon
    Powder Magazine sign image. Click for full size.
    By Michael Sean Nix, February 13, 2010
    12. Powder Magazine sign
    Sign explains some of the flags that may fly over the Powder Magazine.
    Powder Magazine sign image. Click for full size.
    By Michael Sean Nix, February 13, 2010
    13. Powder Magazine sign
    Sign explains about the cannons at the Powder Magazine.
    Cannons image. Click for full size.
    By Michael Sean Nix, February 13, 2010
    14. Cannons
     
     
    Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on February 15, 2010, by Michael Sean Nix of Spartanburg, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 703 times since then and 32 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on February 15, 2010, by Michael Sean Nix of Spartanburg, South Carolina.   3. submitted on October 7, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   4. submitted on February 15, 2010, by Michael Sean Nix of Spartanburg, South Carolina.   5. submitted on October 6, 2011, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.   6. submitted on October 7, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   7. submitted on February 15, 2010, by Michael Sean Nix of Spartanburg, South Carolina.   8. submitted on October 7, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14. submitted on February 15, 2010, by Michael Sean Nix of Spartanburg, South Carolina. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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