Panel 14

The Early 20th Century -- Here Comes the Marines!

Port Royal Sound is the deepest natural harbor south of New York. France and Spain, and later Great Britain, saw the strategic value of the Sound, and starting in 1562 built forts on Parris Island.  300 years later, the Union Army and Navy defeated Confederate efforts to defend and hold the Sound. 

In the 1880s, the United States grew concerned about European military expansion. President Grover Cleveland ordered a review of the country’s coastal defenses. The study found them outdated and in disrepair. Cleveland instituted a multi-million-dollar program to upgrade and construct forts that could defend against the world’s new modern navies, and their powerful guns.  

In 1891 the Port Royal Naval Station and dry dock was established, as the first American military installation on Parris Island. For nearly 20 years, it was the largest military dry dock and coaling station on the East Coast. In 1899 Fort Fremont was constructed on Saint Helena Island, to protect the station. We were hard hit by the decision to move the coaling station to Charleston, in 1901. 

In 1915 the Federal government established Marine Barracks, Port Royal, to train Marine recruits. Beginning with World War II, and continuing through the Cold War of the 1950s and 60s, the depot expanded rapidly - bringing thousands of steady middle-class jobs,to the region. 

Beaufort History Museum
  1. Welcome!
  2. Beaufort County's First People
  3. The Yamasee Indians
  4. Altamaha Town Archaeology
  5. European Superpowers in Carolina
  6. The Greatest and Fairest Haven
  7. Beaufort's Golden Age
  8. Patriots and Loyalists
  9. Antebellum Beaufort – In Town (1782-1861)
  10. Sea Island Cotton
  11. Antebellum Beaufort – Plantations (1782-1861)
  12. Battle of Port Royal (1861)
  13. Beaufort and the Civil War (1861-1865)
  14. The African American Experience (1861-1865)
  15. Model of the New South: Postbellum Beaufort (1865-1893)
  16. Robert Smalls -- The 'King' of Beaufort
  17. The Great Depression – Riches to Rags
  18. The Early 20th Century -- Here Comes the Marines!
  19. The Early 20th Century -- Civil Rights
  20. Rise of the Sunbelt -- Charles Fraser and the Fraser Effect
  21. 21st Century Beaufort -- The 'Chambers' Vision
  22. Preserving Our History
  23. The Greatest and Fairest Haven