The Citadel

Charleston, South Carolina

Photo Credit: Sean Dherit

The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, more commonly known simply as, “The Citadel,” is one of six senior military colleges in the U.S. It is also home to the South Carolina Corps of Cadets, one of the largest uniformed military bodies in the country. The school traces its origins to a series of arsenals constructed near present-day Charleston in the 1820s.

Charleston architect, Frederick Wesner, designed the Romanesque arsenal that was to become the Citadel in 1829. The structure includes an interior courtyard with Doric columns and Roman arches, seen here. Several smaller arsenals were consolidated at The Citadel over the next decade, placed under the guard of two state militias.

A few years later, South Carolina Governor John P. Richardson proposed that these arsenals be turned into military academies. A legislative act in 1842 did just that.

The Citadel sits on  300-acres (121 ha) near the Ashley River just to the northwest of downtown Charleston. There are 27 buildings grouped around a 10-acre (4 ha) grass parade ground. Among these are 10 classroom buildings, an administration building, five barracks, the mess hall, a student activities building, chapel, library, a yacht club, and a marksmanship center.

Alumni of The Citadel have been involved in every American war since the Civil War. Importantly, the first African American Cadet entered The Citadel in 1966, and the first women entered the South Carolina Corps of Cadets in 1996. The school continues to operate today, and states that it is “dedicated to producing principled leaders for service to the state of South Carolina, and our nation.”

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