Fireproof Building

Also known as: S.C. Historical Society
100 Meeting St., Charleston, South Carolina


Fireproof Building, Right Oblique

South Carolina Department of Archives and History

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Designed by Robert Mills and completed in 1827 to house the Charleston District records, this may be the first supposedly fireproof building in the United States. -- National Historic Landmark statement of significance, November 7, 1973The Fireproof Building was the most fire protected building in the country at the time of its construction and is believed to be the oldest building of fireproof construction in the United States. This building was designed by Robert Mills (the first native American trained as an architect) and is very characteristic of his work. Both the high columnar portico raised on a basement arcade and the triple window treatment of the central window mass are typical of Millsí work. The Fireproof Building is built of solid masonry in an avowed attempt to be fire resistant since Mills was intensely concerned for the safety of the public records housed in the building. The basement, porticoes, and cornices are of stone. The walls are of brick, stuccoed in imitation of the same. The design is in the simple Greek Doric style, without ornament, except that afforded by the porticoes which face each front. These porticoes are composed of four massy columns three-and-a-half feet in diameter, raised on an arcade; the columns rise the whole height of the building (comprising two stories) surmounted by their entablature, and crowned with a pediment. Listed in the National Register July 29, 1969; Designated a National Historic Landmark November 7, 1973. - SCDAH

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on July 29, 1969
Reference number
Architectural style
Mid 19th Century Revival: Exotic Revival
Areas of significance
Engineering; Architecture
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic function
Government office
Current functions
Organizational; Government office
Periods of significance
1800-1824; 1825-1849
Significant years
ca. 1822; 1827

Update Log 

  • January 26, 2016: New Street View added by Michael Miller
  • August 18, 2014: Photo imported by Michael Miller
  • July 15, 2014: Updated by Michael Miller: Added "Alternate Name", Description" & "Street View"
  • July 15, 2014: New Street View added by Michael Miller

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