South Carolina Picture Project
South Carolina Picture Project

Barnwell Police Station — Barnwell, South Carolina

SC Picture Project  |  Barnwell County  |  Barnwell Police Station

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Barnwell Police Station

This building’s cheery charm belies a bellicose past. Now located in downtown Barnwell, the octagonal structure originally served as a guard house for a nearby prisoner of war camp. The prisoners were German soldiers captured during World War II. The guardhouse was constructed in 1944 by Charles Cheek, who was assisted by the prisoners themselves.

Barnwell Police Station

Bill Segars of Hartsville, 2008 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Following the war, the camp was torn down. The guard house was moved to the town circle – the center of Barnwell – and used as a police station. According to the plaque on the building (seen below), South Carolina legislators Edgar Brown and Soloman Blatt regularly engaged in spirited debates here. Both of these men now have state government buildings in Columbia named after them.

Police Station Plaque

Bill Segars of Hartsville, 2008 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Today the former police station belongs to the Barnwell County Museum. Twenty-one German prisoner camps were established in South Carolina during World War II. A chimney from a former German POW camp in Charleston is still in tact, though the property owner is searching for a new home for the artifact.

Barnwell Guardhouse

Charles Payne of Rock Hill, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

In 2015 the Barnwell County Museum began a fundraising campaign with a goal of raising $5,000 to restore the former guard house. The above photo was taken in July of 2016.

Barnwell Police Station Info

Address: Burr Street, Barnwell, SC 29812
GPS Coordinates: 33.243306,-81.364523

Barnwell Police Station Map

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