Barnwell Armory Complex

Motor Vehicle Storage Building

Built 1948, possibly designed by Heyward S. Singley. No other details known.1

Armory Building:

Architect: Heyward S. Singley
Contractor: Dawson Engineering Company
Cost: $127,449.00 (original contract)
Completition Date: September 23, 1955

Described as Single Unit Armory plus Medical Detachment 2

SCARNG activated its first unit at Barnwell on November 10, 1947, when it established Company B, 122d Engineer Battalion (Combat). Originally consisting of three officers and 40 enlisted men, the unit went through reorganization and re-designation on February 1, 1953. During these initial Guard activities at Barnwell, the unit met briefly at a building in Fuller Park. SCARNG then constructed the 1948 Motor Vehicle Storage Building (MVSB) that still occupies the site, which was intended for both the engineering company and a medical detachment that was later transferred to Edgefield. In 1954, SCARNG began construction on the second major armory building at the site, and this building remains the site of Barnwell’s principal Guard training operations. It was completed in September 1955, although the dedication date is not known.3

The unit at Barnwell went through several other reorganizations during the ensuing years. In 1959, Barnwell’s unit was re-designated as the 1051st Transportation Company and maintained its headquarters in Hampton. Five years later, in an effort to keep up with the demands of modernization, SCARNG again reorganized the Barnwell unit, shifting the battalion’s headquarters to Edgefield and renaming the unit, again, as Company B, 122d Engineer Battalion. By 1966, the Guard designated this Battalion as a Selected Reserve Force unit, which required additional intensified training for its troops.4 By 2005, Detachment 1 of Company A, 122d Engineer Battalion, occupied the Barnwell armory.5 As of 2011, the 741st Quartermaster Company made its home there.

The Barnwell units have participated in a variety of stateside operations to keep the peace, most notably in Denmark, South Carolina, during civil disturbances at the Voorhees College campus in February 1969 and at the University of South Carolina in May 1970, when student protests over the American presence in Southeast Asia prompted the governor to call Barnwell’s troops to duty at the USC Naval Reserve Armory, several public utilities, and on campus to assist with crowd dispersal. In 1978 and 1979 in Barnwell when law enforcement agencies requested assistance in handling nuclear protests nearby. Barnwell’s forces have also been called on to assist with locating a missing child in October 1969, and to provide aid following a tornado in January 1972 and a severe snowstorm in February 1973.6

For years, the Barnwell armory complex opened its doors for blood drives and community open houses, eventually earning recognition from the American Red Cross for its participation with Blood Mobile drives.7 The site presently also serves as a local hurricane evacuation center and as the venue for some of Barnwell’s town board meetings.8

As of the 2010 site visit, the Barnwell armory complex consisted of four buildings located on approximately five acres of land on the perimeter of the town of Barnwell, including a metal storage building, an auxiliary kitchen, an MVSB, and a main armory building. The metal and wooden POL sheds noted as being present in a 2005 survey were not evident during the October 2010 inspection.9

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  1. While noted architect Heyward S. Singley did not specifically claim credit for having designed this MVSB in 1948, he is known to have designed a total of twenty MVSBs that year for locations throughout the state, which strongly suggests that he may have played a role in designing this one, although no direct evidence has yet been found to demonstrate this. See Heyward S. Singley to Donald Russell, 1954.

  2. Herman M. Sherline to Adjutant General, State of South Carolina, August 5, 1954, Folder 633, General, Box 1721, Army-NGB Decimal File, 1954, RG 319, NARA II; Inspection Report, September 23, 1955, Folder 633, South Carolina, Box 1975, Army-NGB Decimal File, 1955, RG 168, NARA II.

  3. Rhodes, 129, and Kitchens, et al, 16.

  4. Rhodes, 129.

  5. Kitchens, et al, 16.

  6. Rhodes, 129.

  7. Rhodes, 129.) In more recent years, SCARNG has rented out its 1955 armory building for circus performances, wedding receptions, and other parties, and has allowed the local municipality to use the building for polling purposes. ((Kitchens, et al, 16.

  8. Sergeant First Class Daniel Hernandez, personal conversation, October 15, 2010.

  9. Kitchens, et al, 16.