HomeHistoryArmories to National Register of Historic PlacesBelton Armory Complex

Belton Armory Complex

Motor Vehicle Storage Building

None. The 1959 Armory Inventory and Stationing Plan, however, indicates that the unit assigned to Belton in 1959 was “now occupying MVSB.”1 This may have been the Quonset hut currently located on site.

Armory Building:

Architect: Lafaye, Fair, Lafaye & Associates
Contractor: C. Y. Thomason Company (Greenwood, SC)
Cost: $133,295 (original contract amount)2
Completition Date: January 3, 1961

While the SCARNG unit at Belton was originally constituted in 1954, federal officials did not formally recognize Company A of the 111th Signal Battalion3 (authorized as the 139th Field Artillery Battery—Searchlight) until September 8, 1955. At first, unit members drilled at a store building on McGee Street in downtown Belton for nearly five years before moving to an imported Quonset hut located at the present site of the Belton armory complex, approximately one mile to the northwest of the town of Belton. Occupation of this large Quonset hut (which remains on the site) lasted for at least six months, after which completion of the main armory building in early 1961 allowed the unit to move into more modern facilities.

Meanwhile, as happened with many Guard units as part of the Pentomic reorganization of the Guard, Belton’s field artillery battery was converted to the 116th Signal Company (Communications Center Operations) in April 1959 and attached to the Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment of the 108th Signal Battalion. Six years later, the Belton signal company was selected as a Select Force Unit, which permitted the unit to be evaluated for and pass two Army mobilization readiness tests. Like many Guard units throughout the state, Belton’s was called to duty to keep the peace during the turbulence of the late 1960s, helping to quell the Charleston riots in May 1969. This unit was again reorganized in October 1980, when it was designated as Company A, 111th Signal Battalion. By 2005, the Belton armory was home to Company B of the 151st Signal Battalion, although SCARNG soon thereafter designated the Belton armory as the home of the 51st Support Center.4 As of 2010, the 51st Rear Area Operations Center also occupied a small Quonset hut (not the one from the 1950s) that is located on site.

SCARNG has rented the Belton facility for many years as a site for wedding receptions and other parties.5 In more recent years, the 1961 Belton armory building has served as a polling center and as a training center for both the US Census Bureau and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED).6 At the time of the 2010 site visit, a roadside advertising sign indicated that a public wrestling event was also scheduled for the site. While Kitchens reported that a historical file was maintained on site in 2005, no evidence of this historical file could be found. No blueprints for the 1961 armory building have been located either.

As of 2010, the Belton facility included six buildings, including a dispatch building, an abandoned oil shed, an equipment storage building, a small Quonset hut, and a larger Quonset hut that predates the 1961 armory on the 2.4-acre site.

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  1. “Armory Inventory and Stationing Plan, South Carolina,” 1959, Folder 633, South Carolina, Box 3784, Army-NGB Decimal File, 1959, RG 168, NARA II.

  2. William M. Blatt to Adjutant General, State of South Carolina, March 10, 1960, Folder 633, South Carolina, Box 3967, Army-NGB Decimal File, 1960, RG 168, NARA II; Inspection Report, January 3, 1961, Folder 633, South Carolina, Box 4141, Army-NGB Decimal File, 1961, RG 168, NARA II.

  3. Rhodes, 193.

  4. Kitchens, et al, 19.

  5. Kitchens, et al, 19.

  6. Sergeant First Class Tim Green, personal conversation, October 26, 2010.