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Last Updated: Nov 17, 2015     Views: 108

The Old Citadel located in downtown Charleston across from Marion Square was built in 1843 as Charleston was in need of an armed body to defend and guard the city’s commerce.

The original structure was built of brick in a Romanesque style with a wooden parapet along the inner courtyard. In addition, all of the former barracks and most of the academic buildings have retained this style to the present day. The inside of the barracks was known as the Courtyard of a Thousand Arches. This design was replicated in 1922 when the original Padgett-Thomas Barracks were built on the present day campus along the Ashley River. In 1849, a third floor was added to accommodate the growing number of cadets. In addition to the third floor, from 1850 to 1854 the Old Citadel grew to feature four turrets on the corners exhibiting crenellations with an inside arcade boasting smaller arches. The other added feature was the addition of two wings.

At the conclusion of the Civil War in 1865, The Citadel was occupied by Federal troops for seventeen years. The Citadel’s rebirth in 1882 was the start that ultimately led to the growth of the college which led to its relocation in 1922 to the greater campus on the banks of the Ashley River.

Although the Old Citadel no longer serves the Corps of Cadets, it now exemplifies Charleston’s past in the form of an Embassy Suites hotel. (Source: William H. Buckley, The Citadel and the Carolina Corps of Cadets. Arcadia Publishing, 2004, pp. 14-62) (John Judson Riser, Class of 2012)

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