Go Explore: Powder Magazine

79 Cumberland St #3112 Charleston

SEMC Scavenger Hunt/Go Explore: Powder Magazine
Written By SEMC

Join us In Charleston, South Carolina IN 2019! Don't forget to save the dates and mark your calendars for SEMC 2019, October 21-23!

The Powder Magazine!

While you are on King Street, stop by the Powder Magazine for a quick tour. Learn about this building's unique history and unlock your second to last challenge!

The Powder Magazine is South Carolina's oldest public building. It was constructed in 1713 under the orders of the proprietary government. It was used as a gunpowder storage facility periodically through the American Revolution. After, it was a livery stable, a print shop, a blacksmith shop, and even a wine cellar during the Civil War!

Architecture Of The Powder Magazine

The Powder Magazine's walls are approximately three feet thick and are made of solid brick. Inside are nine columns - eight on the outside and one in the center. These columns meet at the ceiling to form Roman groin vault arches. The peaks of the arches are only two bricks thick! In the pocket area created by these arches, there is several thousand pounds of sand. Though no blueprints exist, we believe the purpose of this construction was twofold: a projectile would hopefully lodge in the sand, and if there was an interior explosion, the sand would bust through the thin ceiling and help dampen the fires.

Luckily, this idea was never tested. By the time of the American Revolution, the locals were largely uncomfortable with so much gunpowder being stored in their neighborhood, and a British cannonball landing nearby was the writing on the walls for The Powder Magazine. The powder was moved away during the Revolution and not returned. Because of this, the beautiful architecture remains sturdy, and the sand is still safely stored in the attic area! In 1902, The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in the State of South Carolina purchased The Powder Magazine, saving it from demolition. This nonprofit group's restoration and renovation of the building is considered the first large-scale preservation project in the city. In 1903, they opened it as a tourist attraction. Since the building's tricentennial in 2013, it has house a colonial military history museum.

Your Challenge

Solve this question: What makes gunpowder black? Use it to unlock the next puzzle.

Picture by Wally Gobetz on Flickr. Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

What Greek word is written on Charleston manhole covers?

SEMC Scavenger Hunt

Go Explore: Powder Magazine

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