79 Cumberland Street Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 722-3767

Powder MagazineOpen: Monday-Saturday, 10 AM to 4 PM; Sunday, 1 to 4 PM
Directions: From I-26, take the Meeting Street Exit into downtown Charleston. Follow south one block past Market Street to Cumberland. Turn left and go one block. 79 Cumberland street is on the right.

The Powder Magazine was completed by 1713, making it the oldest public building in South Carolina. Holding about five tons of gunpowder, this building was dangerous, but necessary. Gunpowder was needed to supply the fortifications that surrounded colonial Charles Town. Early threats included the Spanish, French, pirates, slave rebellion and native attacks.

The walls of The Powder Magazine are three feet thick solid brick. The structure was given a thin ceiling with several tons of sand above. In the event of an explosion, the thick walls would force the blast upward and sand would then dampen the explosion.

This facility was used as an arsenal from 1713 – 1748 and then temporarily reinstated by the Continental Army during the American Revolution in 1780. In the 19th Century, The Powder Magazine was retired; however, surrounding property owners discovered a variety of other functions for this historic structure. In 1902, The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in The State of South Carolina purchased the building and continue to preserve it today. Join us for The Powder Magazine Tricentennial Celebration on April 20, 2013!

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