Batesburg Armory Complex

Motor Vehicle Storage Building

Built 1949, possibly designed by Heyward S. Singley. No other details known.1

Armory Building:

Architect: Hallman and Weems
Contractor: Atlantic Building Corp./Lafaye and Tarrant
Cost: $135,154
Completition Date: June 9, 1961
Dedicated: May 20, 1962

Original building was 14,035 sf on five acres. One acre purchased, four acres donated by individual. Described as a One-Unit Armory. Low bidder on the project was Atlantic Building Corp (Columbia), and they are listed as the contractor on the final inspection sheet. It is not known why Lafaye and Tarrant is listed as the contractor on the Dedication Sheet.2

The SCARNG unit at Batesburg was first activated on March 6, 1947, as Company L, 3rd Battalion, 218th Infantry Regiment, 51st Infantry Division, with its battalion headquarters located at Greenwood, South Carolina. Consisting of six officers and 26 enlisted men, this first Batesburg unit met in a small space above the Owen Drug Store in Batesburg. In May 1949, SCARNG provided Batesburg with a motor vehicle storage building (MVSB) on a site located to the north of town, thus providing the unit with a more suitable equipment storage and drilling facility.3 The land for this site had once been wetland but was filled to facilitate the construction of the new garage facility.4

Ten years after the construction of the MVSB facility, in April 1959, the Batesburg unit was reorganized as part of the Guard’s shift to the Pentomic Concept, thus creating Company A of the 151st Signal Battalion, with battalion headquarters at Columbia5. Finally, in 1961, state authorities secured funding for the construction of a new armory facility at Batesburg, which was formally dedicated on May 20, 19626 . Just under six years later, in January 1968, the Batesburg unit was again reorganized as Company D, 122nd Engineer Battalion (Combat).7 As of 2005, Company B of the 122nd Engineer Battalion occupied the Batesburg facility, and the venue also currently serves as the home for the 1227th Engineer Concrete Detachment.8

The Batesburg units have seen frequent calls to duty during their tenure, ranging from providing assistance in the search for a lost child in 1950 to firefighting help on the Gaston Fire (1966). Like many other Guard units, the Batesburg troops have also assisted with riot control throughout the state, including at the University of South Carolina campus in May 1970 and at the Barnwell nuclear demonstrations in 1979. The Batesburg SCARNG forces also assisted with local needs during snow and ice storms in 1973 and 19779 . The 1962 armory facility at the Batesburg site is frequently rented out for wedding receptions, high school events, fundraisers, and other parties, including the circus when it comes to town. That said, the towns of Batesburg and Leesville do not normally use the facility for polling or other town business, as frequently occurs at other armory sites.10

As of the 2010 site visit, the Batesburg facility consisted of six buildings on approximately seven acres of land located just north of the town of Batesburg, including a small flammable materials building, an oil storage building, a Quonset hut, an equipment storage building, the 1949 MVSB, and the 1962 armory building. In addition, the site includes a large rectangular concrete foundation (for an unknown purpose—perhaps tented vehicle storage), a very small, wooden, open-air storage shelter near the Quonset hut, and a large semi-circular brick memorial garden, built sometime after 2005 and located about thirty yards from the front of the 1962 armory building.

Photo Gallery

  1. While noted architect Heyward S. Singley did not specifically claim credit for having designed this MVSB in 1949, he is known to have taken a contract to design 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. Armory Dedication Fact Sheet, no date, Folder 633, General, Army-NGB Decimal File, 1962, RG 168, NARA II; Frank D. Pinckney to Chief, National Guard Bureau, June 17, 1960, Folder 633, South Carolina, Box 3967, Army-NGB Decimal File, 1960, RG 168, NARA II; Inspection Report, June 9, 1961, Folder 633, South Carolina, Box 4141, Army-NGB Decimal File, 1961, RG 168, NARA II.

  3. “Unit History,” from South Carolina Army National Guard: Armory Dedication, Company A, 151st Signal Battalion, Batesburg-Leesville, SC, event program, 20 May 1962, not paginated. A copy of this publication was provided by personnel at the Batesburg facility in October 2010. See also Rhodes, 134.

  4. Kitchens, et al, 17.

  5. “Unit History”

  6. “Unit History” and Rhodes, 134.

  7. Rhodes, 17.

  8. Kitchens, et al, 17, and Staff Sergeant Darin Hawfield, personal conversation, October 25, 2010.

  9. Rhodes, 134.

  10. Kitchens, et al, 17, and Darin Hawfield.