Charleston, SC 29401
Monday - Saturday 10:00a to 4:00p
The Powder Magazine is the oldest surviving public building in South Carolina. It was built in 1713 as a place to safely store and centralize gunpowder supplies. This facility was used as an arsenal from 1713 - 1748 to defend the colony from the Spanish, French, pirates, slave rebellion and native attacks.
The Powder Magazine's tile roof is typical of very early buildings, as are the 32-inch thick brick walls. There are few doors in the building, so that in the event of an explosion, most of the explosive force would exit through the roof. Sand stored in the roof would then smother and put out the fire. After a new magazine was built in 1748, this structure was condemned in 1770. Shortly thereafter, the outbreak of the Revolutionary War created a new demand for the old Magazine to store gun powder.
After 1820, the building was used for a variety of things including storage, a printing house, and livery stable.
Since 1902 the Powder Magazine has been owned by the South Carolina Society of Colonial Dames, which operates the property as a museum of early Charleston history.