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Charleston Arsenal facts for kids

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Porter Military Academy
173 Ashley.jpg
The octagonal Waring Library, built by Porter Military Academy, in 2020
Location 175-181 Ashley Ave., Charleston, South Carolina
Area 1.1 acres (0.45 ha)
Built 1862
Architect Bell, Holten; Snook, John Butler
Architectural style Greek Revival, Late Gothic Revival, Octagon Mode
NRHP reference No. 96000685
Added to NRHP June 21, 1996

The Charleston Arsenal was a United States Army arsenal facility in Charleston, South Carolina, seized by state militia at the outbreak of the American Civil War. On June 21, 1996, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places as Porter Military Academy.

The arsenal was constructed in 1841 near the intersection of Ashley Avenue and Mill Street in Charleston. It served as a storage place for weapons, ordnance, and ammunition for the U.S. Army in antebellum days. (An earlier Federal arsenal, the Old Citadel, was taken out of service and after became a part of The Citadel.) The Charleston arsenal produced a considerable amount of artillery and small arms ammunition during the Mexican–American War and up to the Civil War.

With the secession of South Carolina in December 1860, the Arsenal became a target for Charleston militia. South Carolina troops seized the arsenal in late December, and the Confederates held it for much of the war. Josiah Gorgas had the arsenal enlarged and modernized with the installation of steam power. For a time, it was used a barracks to house Confederate troops, including the 26th South Carolina. The arsenal was retaken by Union troops in 1865 when Charleston finally fell.

On July 16, 1866, the U.S. government designated the 11.26-acre (4.56 ha) site as a Federal Military Reservation, but in 1879 the Army closed the arsenal. The building and land were sold in 1888, to the Porter Military Academy which occupied the site until it built a new campus west of the Ashley River, and in 1963 the site became part of the Medical University of South Carolina.

Waring Historical Library

The building now houses the Waring Historical Library, the special collections and rare book library for the Medical University of South Carolina. The collections include books, journals, manuscript items and museum artifacts about the history of the health sciences. The library is open for visitors by appointment.

The Library also includes the Macaulay Museum of Dental History, which features a collection of dental memorabilia, dental chairs and a traveling dentist's chest of the Civil War era. The museum is open for tour by appointment with the Library.

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