HomeHistoryArmories Eligible for Listing on the NRHPHemingway Armory Complex

Hemingway Armory Complex

Motor Vehicle Storage Building

Architect: Heyward S. Singley

Contractor: Clarendon Box Company (Manning)

Date: May 1950

MVSB design has an unusual fifth mechanic’s bay. Additional $3,600 request for installation of vault and storage room.1 At the expense of the town of Hemingway, Heyward S. Singley modified the existing drill hall to accommodate bleachers for a basketball court. These changes were expected to add $10,000 to $15,000 of expense to the project. Only other SCARNG facility to use this design was Ware Shoals Armory. Due to health and safety concerns, the Hemingway MVSB was demolished in 2019.

The SCARNG unit traditionally associated with Hemingway was actually first established at Mullins as Service Battery, 296th Field Artillery Battalion, on March 6, 1947. Two years later, the unit transferred permanently to Hemingway with two officers and 27 enlisted personnel. Shortly thereafter, most likely in 1950, SCARNG built an unusual version of its customary MVSB, this time featuring a fifth mechanic’s bay. Six years later, SCARNG added one of the new single-unit armories to the site. In 1959, as part of the Pentomic Concept reorganizations, Hemingway’s unit became known as Battery A, 3rd Howitzer Battalion, 178th Artillery. During the 1960s and 1970s, the unit went through four more reorganizations: Service Battery, 4th Howitzer Battalion, 178th Artillery, in 1963; Service Battery, 4th Battalion, 178th Artillery in 1968; a shift in 1971 that did not result in a name change; and Service Battery, 4th Battalion, 178th Field Artillery, in 1979.2 By 2005, the unit’s name had changed again to Service Battery, 1st Battalion, 178th Field Artillery.3 At the time of the 2010 site inspection, the former unit had been deployed to Afghanistan, and a new unit was in the process of being reassigned to the Hemingway location.4

Hemingway’s Guard unit has assisted the state and various local municipalities numerous times during its history, including the Myrtle Beach and Georgetown areas following Hurricane Hazel in 1954, Charleston during the riots of 1969, and numerous areas of South Carolina following a massive snowstorm in 1973.5 The 1956 armory was at one time used for rentals, but these slacked off sometime prior to 2005 as a result of concerns about the strength of the facility’s roof. A local ROTC unit has used the facility in the past for BB gun target training. Earlier reports also suggest that an historical file with photographs, the original deed, and the original plat map for the property was kept on site as recently as 2005, but the motor pool personnel—who now account for the only regular presence at the armory—were unable to locate these materials.6 No other blueprints or plans have been located.

As of 2010, the Hemingway site consisted of seven buildings on approximately five acres of land located about a quarter of a mile to the southeast of downtown Hemingway, including the circa 1950 MVSB with five bays, the 1956 armory building, an equipment storage building, a metal oil house, and three FMS-related buildings.

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  1. While noted architect Heyward S. Singley did not specifically claim credit for having designed this MVSB in 1950, he is known to have taken a contract to design a total of twenty MVSBs in 1948 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.

    Armory Building:

    Architect: Heyward S. Singley
    Contractor: Potter-Shackleford Construction Co.
    Cost: $139,850
    Completition Date: October 4, 1956
    Notes:

    Described as Single Unit Armory. ((Inspection Report, October 11, 1956, Folder 633, South Carolina, Box 2246, Army-NGB Decimal File, 1956, RG 168, NARA II.

  2. Rhodes, 278. Rhodes incorrectly indicates Hemingway’s armory completion as 1954.

  3. Kitchens, et al, 52.

  4. Sergeant First Class Philip Huggins, personal conversation, October 14, 2010.

  5. Rhodes, 278.

  6. Kitchens, et al, 52, and Philip Huggins.