Saluda Armory Complex

Motor Vehicle Storage Building

Architect: Heyward S. Singley

Builder: Craig-Roberson Construction Co.

Cost: $25,000

Begun 1948 and completed by 1949, the MVSB is located on land deeded to the State of South Carolina by local resident Charles F. Boland, Sr., in March 1948. Strong room and supply rooms added in 1950 to serve as a temporary armory. The MVSB was later converted into the FMS.1

Armory Building:

Architect: Heyward S. Singley
Contractor: W. G. King and Sons (Clinton, SC)
Cost: $125,268
Completition Date: July 1, 1960

Originally approved for construction during 1957, but cancelled in July 1957 because it had not been placed under contract within 18 months of its initial approval. The project was advertised again along with a solicitation of bids for Allendale and McCormick in August of 1958. The contract was awarded to W.G. King and Sons Construction and the armory was completed in July 1960. Two years later, Blume and Cannon completed designs for an expansion of the new facility. The expansion cost $22,859, and was completed by Livingston Construction Company (A. O. Livingston and Son, Newberry) on November 1, 1962. The expansion added three offices, a locker room, an arms room, and a supply area to the existing armory.2 The expansion changed the Saluda Armory into a two-unit armory.

SCARNG established the first Guard presence at Saluda in February 1947, when Company M, 218th Infantry, 51st Infantry Division, began meeting at the town American Legion building. This building remained their meeting and training facility until either late 1949 or early 1950, when they moved into a new MVSB built on land deeded to the state by local resident Charles F. Boland, Sr., in March 1948.3 About ten years later, SCARNG authorized the construction of a modern armory facility at the same site, and the unit occupied this new facility no later than early July 1960.4 This latter building was substantially altered in late 1962, when SCARNG added three offices, a locker room, an arms room, and a supply area to the existing 1960 armory building. In 1971 the local unit, at its own expense, also added a mess hall and kitchen.5

Meanwhile, as part of the Pentomic Concept reorganization of SCARNG in 1959, SCARNG reassigned the Saluda unit as Company D, 122nd Engineer Battalion, 51st Infantry Division. Four years later, this unit was consolidated with Company E of the same battalion to form Company E of the 51st Quartermaster Battalion, which was no longer affiliated with the 51st Infantry Division. Over the next eight years, the Saluda unit was reorganized on several occasions: as the 122nd Engineer Company (Light Equipment) in April 1964; as the 122nd Engineer Company, 108th Signal Battalion in April 1968; and as the 122nd Engineer Battalion in December 1971.6 The 122nd Engineer Company was still at this location as of 2005, but the 124th Engineer Company and the 1225th Engineer Detachment occupied the Saluda facility by the time of the 2010 site visit.7 This latter unit was deployed to Iraq in 2005 and has participated in several other recent humanitarian deployments.8 For a brief period of time during the 1960s, the Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 228th Signal Group, was also stationed at Saluda.9

The Saluda Guard unit has a long history of providing assistance throughout the state during times of natural disaster and civil upheaval. The state called on the Saluda unit in May 1969, for example, to help quell the riots in Charleston, and in May 1970 to assist local authorities with disturbances in Fairfax. Tornado duty called the unit into action in March 1985, and in May 1986, the unit performed its first overseas duties, assisting with road construction in Panama and Ecuador.10 Community groups and private renters occasionally use the main armory building at Saluda for craft shows, wedding receptions, and reunions, and recent events have included the Cattleman’s Convention, the Wild Turkey Federation, and a local event called “Taste and Sea.” While the facility is not used for polling purposes, it did provide a venue for a George W. Bush campaign stop in 2000.11 As of the 2010 site visit, Sergeant Rodgers maintained a very small historical file, and Saluda personnel reported that any blueprints that were on site have been sent to SCARNG Buildings and Grounds. These have not been located.12

As of 2010, the Saluda armory site consisted of six buildings on approximately six and a half acres of land located about one mile to the northwest of the Saluda town center, including the circa 1950 MVSB, the 1960 armory, a large metal storage “Butler” building, a vehicle wash rack, an oil shed, and a small maintenance building.

Photo Gallery

  1. While noted architect Heyward S. Singley did not specifically claim credit for having designed this MVSB in 1948, he is known to have taken a contract to design a total of twenty MVSBs in 1948 for locations throughout the state. See Heyward S. Singley to Donald Russell, 1954. Recently located blueprints identify Singley as the architect for this facility. Regarding the land donation, see General James C. Dozier to C. F. Boland, Sr., March 6, 1948, historical file at Saluda Armory Complex; and “Bids for Saluda Guard Armory Soon to Be Asked in Columbia,” Augusta Chronicle, October 14, 1948, 17. The latter source does not list the architect but indicates that the plans for the structure were already in hand. Regarding the completion date and cost of the MVSB, see “Several New Buildings Are Now Under Construction in Saluda,” Augusta Chronicle, February 26, 1950, 7.

  2. James C. Dozier to Headquarters, Departments of the Army and Air Force, September 18, 1958, Folder 633, South Carolina, Box 3571, Army-NGB Decimal File, 1958, RG 168, NARA II; “Approved Armory Construction Projects,” no date but 1957, Folder 633, South Carolina, Box 3259, Army-NGB Decimal File, 1957, RG 168, NARA II; D. W. McGowan to Adjutant General, State of South Carolina, July 5, 1957, Folder 633, South Carolina, Box 3259, Army-NGB Decimal File, 1957, RG 168, NARA II; Inspection Report, July 1, 1960, Folder 633, South Carolina, Box 3967, Army-NGB Decimal File, 1960, RG 168, NARA II; Inspection Report, November 1, 1962, Folder 633, South Carolina, Box 4293, Army-NGB Decimal File, 1962, RG 168, NARA II; Eric W. Plaag, Historical Survey of 15 SCARNG Armory Complexes, South Carolina, February 2012, 185; William M. Blatt to Adjutant General, State of South Carolina, June 26, 1962, Folder 633, South Carolina, Box 4293, Army-NGB Decimal File, 1962, RG 168, NARA II.

  3. General James C. Dozier to C.F. Boland, Sr., March 6, 1948, historical file at Saluda Armory Complex. There is some confusion about the exact date of the construction of the Saluda MVSB. Rhodes (137) reports that the unit did not move into the armory until “1950” and “in the 1950’s,” while Kitchens, et al (77), cites 1948 as the year of the building’s completion. Newspaper coverage, cited supra, makes clear that bids were not solicited on the project until late 1948 at the earliest.

  4. A fair amount of confusion exists among Guard staff regarding the completion date of the 1960 Saluda armory building. Local staff members (Staff Sergeant Rickey T. McCary and Sergeant First Class Prevo Rodgers, personal conversation, October 25, 2010), who have access to a small historical file and seemed well-versed on the location’s history, insisted that the Saluda armory building was completed in 1958. Rhodes (137) reports that construction took place “in the late fifties” and that the building was “available for occupancy in 1960.” Kitchens, et al (77), offers a completion date of 1960.

  5. Rhodes, 137. Rhodes incorrectly reports the 1962 addition as occurring in 1963.

  6. Rhodes, 137.

  7. Kitchens, et al, 77.

  8. Rickey T. McCary.

  9. Rhodes, 186.

  10. Rhodes, 137.

  11. Kitchens, et al, 77, and Rickey T. McCary.

  12. Rickey T. McCary.