Mount Dearborn Military Reservation

National Register Listing
Street Address:
Great Falls, SC (Chester County)
Alternate Name:

NRHP Nomination

Record Number:
Description and Narrative:
A 2004 archaeological survey identified ten building foundations at the former Mount Dearborn Military Reservation, located in the vicinity of Great Falls, Chester County, South Carolina. Constructed and occupied from 1803 to about 1817, Mount Dearborn was named for Henry Dearborn, the fifth United States Secretary of War (1801-1809). It was listed in the National Register for significance under Criterion A: Military and Criterion D: Archeology at the state level of significance. The period of significance is 1803-1817. The facility was intended to be one of three regional armories in a centralized system of arms production. The first two were established at Springfield, Massachusetts and Harpers Ferry, Virginia. In 1798, George Washington directed that a third armory should be constructed in the Southern states, and suggested a location in Chester District, South Carolina, near the town of Rocky Mount, just below the Great Falls of the Catawba River. A canal, designed to circumvent the falls, was being planned for this section of the river and could easily supply power to the armory. In 1802, Secretary of War Henry Dearborn, acting on instructions from President Thomas Jefferson, asked Senator Thomas Sumter of South Carolina to purchase land for the U.S. government at the location Washington had suggested. However, the planned canal was never built, and questions arose about the legitimacy of Sumter’s purchase. After multiple delays between 1803 and 1812, the government ceased construction at Mount Dearborn. While the armory was never built, the facility was used as an arsenal to store weapons and as a military post to house and train troops. Mount Dearborn saw its greatest activity during the War of 1812 when new recruits were sent to the post to train and protect the area. Military activity at Mount Dearborn ceased entirely by 1817, and the U.S. government retroceded the land to the State of South Carolina in 1829. Listed in the National Register January 16, 2018.
Period of Significance:
1803 – 1817
Level of Significance:
Area of Significance:
Military;Archeology: Historic - Non-Aboriginal
National Register Determination:
Date of Certification:
January 16 2018

Related places
Chester County
Great Falls