Home About Us Catalog Borrowing Services Resources Programs & Events Locations





Magazine Street

Magazine Street is named for a series of powder magazines which were built at its west end. The first, built about 1737, was called the New Magazine to distinguish it from the old one on Cumberland Street. A second and larger one was built in 1748 and stood until after the Revolution. The adjoining area of four acres had been set aside in 1680 as public land and was used as a burying ground. Later the magazines, the Poor House, hospitals, the Work House for runaway slaves, and the Jail were built on the square, which was bounded by Magazine, Mazyck (now Logan), Queen and Back (now Franklin). (Rogers, Charleston in the Age of the Pinckneys, 147.)


11 Magazine St.
This modified single house, without a central stairhall, was built c. 1821 by Mary Porter Fowler, a free black woman, after she purchased the site in 1821. The house subsequently was altered to give it a parapet roofline. (Stockton, DYKYC, July 26, 1976 & April 18, 1977.)

12 Magazine St.
This small two and one half story frame single house was built by Benjamin Mazyck sometime between 1788 and 1800 and is in the Federal style. (Stockton, DYKYC, May 24, 1976.)

15 Magazine St.
(vicinity) -- Site of the Work House. An early Work House is shown on the "lchnography" of 1739. Runaway slaves and apprentices might be held here temporarily. lf slaves weren't claimed within 60 days by an owner, they could be sold to pay for their room and board. The Work House was also a place of execution. ln 1769, two slaves, Dolly and Liverpoole, were "burnt on the Work-house Green" for poisoning an infant. The Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach described the Work House in 1826 as having about 40 inmates of both sexes, who had been arrested by police or sent by their masters for punishment. Punishment consisted of flogging, and the treadmill, on which prisoners walked in relays, providing power for the grinding of corn. Black overseers with cowhide whips maintained order. The Duke remarked that prisoners seemed to prefer flogging to the treadmill. The Duke said the Work House was better kept than the white prison. But in cold weather, blankets had to be furnished by the slave-owner. Frederick Wesner, who had assisted in the arrest of Denmark Vesey, in 1822, and was the architect of the State Arsenal (Old Citadel), was named Master of the Work House from 1832 to 1840. A new Work House was begun in 1850. It was a large Gothic Revival building with castellated turrets, designed by Edward C. Jones and built by Christopher C. Trumbo. ln 1854, plumbing and steam heat were installed. The Work House was taken down after the 1886 earthquake. (Rogers, Charleston in the Age of the Pinckneys, 21, 23, 57, 147-149; Leland, Charleston; Crossroads of History, 40; Ravenel, Architects, 145-146, 208.)

21 Magazine St.
Old Jail. The Charleston District Jail was built in 1802. Architect Robert Mills designed in 1822 a four story wing of fireproof construction, with one-man cells. Mills' wing was taken down in 1855 for the construction of the present octagonal wing in 1855-56. lt was originally of four stories with a two story octagonal tower. The tower and fourth story were removed after severe damage in the 1886 earthquake. The octagonal wing was designed by architects Barbot & Seyle, who at the same time expanded the main building and remodeled it in the Romanesque Revival style. The jail saw a variety of inmates. John and Lavinia Fisher and other members of their gang, convicted of murdering and robbing wayfarers on Charleston Neck were imprisoned here in 1819-20. Four white men convicted of encouraging the Denmark Vesey plot of 1822 also were imprisoned here. Pirates, the last of their kind, were jailed here in 1822 while awaiting hanging. After the alleged Vesey plot, the law required that all black seamen be kept in the jail while their ships were in port. During the Civil War, captured Federal prisoners-of-war were kept here. The building continued in use as the county jail until 1939, when it was purchased as part of the Robert Mills Manor project. (Rhett & Steele, pp. 50-53; Ravenel, Architects, p.126, 234; Stockton, unpub. MS.; _____, DYKYC, Jan. 23, 1978; Cooper & McCord, 12: 202, 276; Waddell & Lipscomb, 32.)