The Old Powder Magazine (79 Cumberland St., 843/722-9350, www.powdermag.org , Wed.–Sat. 10 a.m.–4 p.m., $2 adults, $1 children) may be small, but the building is quite historically significant. The 1713 edifice is the oldest public building in South Carolina and also the only one remaining of the days of the Lords Proprietors.
As the name indicates, Old Powder Magazine was where the city’s gunpowder was stored during the Revolution. The magazine is designed to implode rather than explode in the event of a direct hit.
The Old Powder Magazine is another labor of love of the Historic Charleston Foundation, which has leased the building—which from a distance looks curiously like an ancient Byzantine church—from The Colonial Dames since 1993. It was opened to the public as an attraction in 1997. Now directly across the street from a huge parking garage, the site has continuing funding issues, so occasionally the hours for tours can be erratic.
Inside you’ll see displays, a section of the original brick, and an exposed earthquake rod. Right next door is the privately owned, circa-1709 Trott’s Cottage, the first brick dwelling in Charleston .