Fireproof Building

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Fireproof Building
South Carolina Historical Society.JPG
Fireproof Building
Fireproof Building is located in South Carolina
Fireproof Building
Fireproof Building is located in the US
Fireproof Building
Location 100 Meeting St., Charleston, South Carolina
Coordinates 32°46′36″N 79°55′55″W / 32.77667°N 79.93194°W / 32.77667; -79.93194Coordinates: 32°46′36″N 79°55′55″W / 32.77667°N 79.93194°W / 32.77667; -79.93194
Built 1827
Architect Robert Mills
Architectural style Greek Revival
Part of Charleston Historic District (#66000964)
NRHP reference # 69000161
Significant dates
Added to NRHP July 29, 1969[1]
Designated NHL November 7, 1973[2]
Designated NHLDCP October 9, 1960

The Fireproof Building, also known as the County Records Building, is located at 100 Meeting Street, at the northwest corner of Washington Square, in Charleston, South Carolina. Built in 1827, it was the most fire-resistant building in America at the time, and is believed to be the oldest fire-resistant building in America today.[3]

The building has undergone renovation and will reopen in the summer of 2018 as the South Carolina Historical Society Museum, which will include an exhibit on the history of the Fireproof Building.

Description and history[edit]

The Fireproof Building is a two-story masonry structure, set on a tall stone basement with an arcade of round-arch openings and built out brick that has been stuccoed to resemble stone.[4] The building is in the Greek Revival style, with Doric porticoes north and south, and achieves a sophisticated appearance with clean and crisp lines, and relatively little ornamentation. Inside, the building has an oval stair hall lit by a cupola. The stone stairs are cantilevered through three stories.

The building was built to house the office and records of Charleston County. The contractor, John G. Spidle, built it in 1827 to the design of Robert Mills, the nation's first domestically-trained architect and an early advocate of fire-resistant buildings. [5] The Fireproof Building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1969,[1] and declared a National Historic Landmark in 1973.[2][4]

The building is currently the home of the South Carolina Historical Society. In 2016-17 the building underwent a major renovation intended to modernize all systems, to provide a secure, climate controlled environment for the storage of historic documents, and to provide both an events venue and modern museum space. In the summer of 2018 the Historical Society will open a revamped museum dedicated to the history of South Carolina and to the history of the Fireproof Building itself.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  2. ^ a b "Fireproof Building". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-03-21.
  3. ^ "Fireproof Building, Charleston County (100 Meeting St., Charleston)". National Register Properties in South Carolina listing. South Carolina Department of Archives and History. Retrieved 2008-03-21.
  4. ^ a b Tray Stephenson and Bernard Kearse (April 20, 1973). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: The Fireproof Building" (pdf). National Park Service. and Accompanying one photo, exterior, from 1971 (32 KB)
  5. ^ Edgar, Walter, ed. The South Carolina Encyclopedia, University of South Carolina Press, 2006, p. 325, ISBN 1-57003-598-9
  6. ^ Behre, Robert (11 November 2017). "Charleston's famous Fireproof Building building will tell state's history — and its own — through new eyes". The Post and Courier. Retrieved 21 November 2017.

External links[edit]