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The Powder Magazine

Cause Area

  • Arts & Culture
  • Community


79 Cumberland St.CHARLESTON, SC 29401 United States

Organization Information

Mission Statement

The NSCDA-SC seeks to create interest in our colonial history through historic sites and objects which provide tangible connections to our past. The NSCDA-SC’s 1903 purchase of The Powder Magazine saved the oldest public building in the state from destruction, as it became the first historic building in Charleston to be deliberately preserved and restored. The NSCDA-SC was honored with the Susan Pringle Frost Lifetime Achievement for Historic Preservation Award by the Preservation Society of Charleston, the oldest community-based historic preservation organization in America.


Completed in 1713, The Powder Magazine is South Carolina's oldest government building. The building was used as an arsenal from 1713-1748 and during the American Revolution in order to defend the city. After 1780, it was retired, and by the early 19th century, it was privately owned. During this period, The Powder Magazine served as a print shop, livery stable, wine cellar, and carriage house. In 1902, The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in The State of South Carolina purchased the building, saving it from demolition. Within a year, it was opened to the public. Today, visitors learn about colonial military history in a building that saw it happen.


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