Coast Guard Base Charleston
Coast Guard Base Charleston is located at 196 Tradd Street in the Southern most part of the city. Historic Charleston surrounds the waterfront area in which the Base is situated. Charleston is a seagoing port with access to both the Ashley and Cooper Rivers. This leaves the Base in an ideal position for many seagoing missions as well as a variety of shore based activities.
Due to the Navy downsizing in Charleston, there is an abundance of Navy quarters available to Coast Guard personnel. The Naval quarters are located at the Naval Weapons Station in Goose Creek, approximately a 30 minute drive to USCG Base Charleston.
Base Charleston consists of approximately 8.2 acres. The Base is located within the historical district of the City of Charleston, South Carolina, on the East side of the Ashley River.
The Coast Guard Charleston Base was first commissioned at its present site in 1914. The government purchased the land from West Point Mill Company, Andrew B. Murry, and the City of Charleston. The land was dedicated to the U.S. Lighthouse Service and originally was used as a buoy depot. The U.S. Coast Guard absorbed the U.S. Lighthouse Service in 1939, including Base Charleston.
The main Administration Building, commonly known as the Rice Mill building is a three story, +30,000 square feet, heavy timber structure with exterior brick walls built in 1859 and was known as Chisolm's Mill. Judging from historical news accounts describing the Rice Mill construction in 1859, the current Administration Building was the storehouse building which was attached to the original Rice Mill. The building was rebuilt upon the foundations of the earlier 1826 Rice Mill that had burned to the ground. The brick foundation walls are up to 30 inches thick decreasing to 14 inches think at the roof gables.
The Rice Mill has an interesting structural feature that came as a result of the earthquake of 1886. Earthquake rods and turnbuckles were run into the floors and into the walls at the window levels. These rods were installed on many buildings in Charleston to provide tensile reinforcing and to help close up cracks opened by that earthquake. This impressive building is still being used and recently underwent a 3/4 million dollar facelift. The building is eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places as the "Chisolm Ricemill Building". The Base recently received the local coveted Carolopolis Award. This award is presented for exceptional efforts in historical preservation.
The Marine Safety Building is a two story 6,700 square foot, cast in place concrete structure originally constructed in 1934 as the U.S. Lighthouse Service Building. This is a reinforced concrete building with brick exterior walls.
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