The first U.S. Marines "landed" on Parris Island just before the turn of the century. In 1891, a small security detail, which was attached to the Port Royal Naval Station, was stationed on the island situated in the Port Royal Sound. By late 1915, it was official. Parris Island became a Marine Corps Recruit Depot.
The Parris Island Historic District is made up of the first military homes constructed on the island between 1891 and World War 1. They are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A causeway and a bridge over Archer's Creek were built in 1929, ending centuries of ferry transportation to the island via the Port Royal docks.
The start of World War II boosted the influx of Marine recruits from more than 5,000 in December 1941 to more than 200,000 by the end of 1945. Up to 13 battalions were trained on Parris Island.
In 1949, the Marine Corps Recruit Depot established a separate command for training female recruits. This 4th Recruit Training Battalion remains the only battalion in the Marine Corps to train women.
Another 138,000 recruits arrived on Parris Island during the Korean War years-1950 to 1952. A "peak training load" of nearly 11,000 recruits was reached in 1966 during training for the Vietnam War.
Today, about 18,000 recruits complete basic training at Parris Island each year. Their Friday afternoon graduations, held weekly, are open to the public.
The history of Parris Island comes to life at the Parris Island Museum, located in the War Memorial Building. It begins with the landing of French Huguenots in 1562 and continues through the arrival of English colonists in the late 1600s, e skirmishes between islanders and the British oops during the Revolutionary War, to the capture of the Port Royal Sound by Union troops in the Civil War to the establishment of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in 1915.
History buffs will revel in the museum's study collection, research facilities and archival collection. These resources help scholars learn the details of regional military and Marine Corps history.