Jefferson Ordnance Magazine

Jefferson Ordnance Magazine (1863)

Big Cypress Bayou, south shoreline 500 ft. downstream of Jefferson boat launch.
Jefferson, Marion County

Constructed as part of a network of sites for the transportation of ammunition for the Confederate war effort, the Jefferson Ordnance Magazine is perhaps the only remaining example of a Civil War-era powder magazine in Texas. Strategically constructed on Big Cypress Bayou circa 1863, what was a transportation advantage has become a liability as the erosion of the banks of the bayou has rapidly advanced to within seventeen feet of this modest structure. Owned by Historic Jefferson Foundation, this site is in need of protection from the changing landscape which threatens to cause the collapse of this important site listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Ten feet square and nearly fifteen feet tall, this brick building was constructed with walls one foot thick at its lower level. The walls include air spaces that formed a ventilation system to keep the interior brick dry and inside temperature stable. More than 90% of the structure is original, with careful repairs undertaken in 1992. Serving a supply network linking Shreveport, Marshall and Tyler, the ordnance magazine in Jefferson was once part of a complex of buildings on the edge of town that have all but vanished. Both architecturally and archaeologically significant, the preservation of this site will teach lessons about how to best address changing landscape conditions at an environmentally vulnerable historic place.

For more information, please visit Historic Jefferson Foundation’s website.