Sunday, October 20, 2013

Historic Powder Magazine sees new life in Chattahoochee, FL

A stunning project to restore and revitalize a historic gunpowder magazine is nearing  completion in Chattahoochee, Florida.

Completed in 1834, the magazine was part of the historic Apalachicola Arsenal which stood on the grounds of what is now the Florida State Hospital.  The magazine held hundreds of barrels of gunpowder during the Second Seminole War (1835-1842) and the War Between the States (1861-1865).

The project to restore it for use as a museum and conference center began in 1996 and took 25 years to complete!  Much of the work was done by state inmates and volunteers, with only necessary parts being contracted out.  The result is stunning!

The complex now includes conference rooms of various sizes, a gift shop area, a reception area, a full kitchen, storage rooms and - of course - the historic gunpowder magazine itself which will serve as a museum. Exhibits will interpret the history of the Apalachicola Arsenal and Florida State Hospital.  Officials at the state hospital hope it will be open for public use sometime this winter.

You can read more about the history of the Apalachicola Arsenal at http://www.exploresouthernhistory.com/arsenal1.  The photos below were taken last week!


Sign noting 1834 completion date of the Magazine

Exterior view of the restored Powder Magazine.

The bricks were made locally using clay from Mosquito Creek swamp.

The central vault of the magazine has been rebuilt. A tree once grew
through the roof here where the arch had collapsed.

The reception area of the new conference center.

A preserved wall of the magazine, the new gift shop is at left.

Inside the restored magazine.  Exhibits will be installed soon.

The magazine had a wooden floor to keep moisture from seeping
into the barrels of gunpowder once stored there.

The brickwork of the magazine is beautiful and artistic.

Looking from the magazine out through the original inner
and outer walls.

Hundreds of barrels of gunpowder were stored here
during the Second Seminole War (1835-1842) and the
War Between the States (1861-1865).

The magazine was a small part of a large arsenal complex. Several
other buildings also survive, including the Guard Room and Officer's Quarters.

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