While The Citadel moved lock, stock, and barrel almost a century ago, the college’s old home, the South Carolina State Arsenal, still overlooks Francis Marion Square, a reminder of the former glory days when this was the institute’s parade ground, the “Citadel Green” (the old Citadel is now a hotel).
Interestingly, Marion Square (btwn. King and Meeting Sts. at Calhoun St., 843/965-4104) can still be used as a parade ground, under agreement with the Washington Light Infantry and the Sumter Guard, which lease the square to the city.
Seemingly refusing to give up on tradition—or perhaps just attracted by the many female College of Charleston students—uniformed cadets from The Citadel are still chockablock in Marion Square on any given weekend, a bit of local flavor that reminds you that you’re definitely in Charleston.
Six-and-a-half-acre Marion Square is named for the “Swamp Fox” himself, Revolutionary War hero and father of modern guerrilla warfare Francis Marion, for whom the hotel at the square’s southwest corner is also named. The newest feature of Marion Square is the Holocaust Memorial on Calhoun Street.
However, the dominant monument is the towering memorial to John C. Calhoun. Its 1858 cornerstone includes one of the more interesting time capsules you’ll encounter: $100 in Continental money, a lock of John Calhoun’s hair, and a cannonball from the Fort Moultrie battle.
Marion Square hosts many events, including the Farmers Market every Saturday from mid-April to late December, the Food and Wine Festival, and of course more Spoleto events.
© Jim Morekis from Moon Charleston & Savannah, 4th Edition