A History of Parris Island Recruit Depot
Marines first landed on Parris Island in 1891 when First Sergeant Richard Donovan led a security detachment in the area. The town that Parris Island is now a part of, called Port Royal, was a Naval Station that his unit was attached to.
There are still some military structures and homes from that era standing. They formed the center of the Parris Island Historic District and include the commanding general’s home. All of these building in the Historic District are on the National Register of Historic Places.
It didn’t become an official Marine recruit depot for a good 20+ years. It wasn’t officially designated until 1915, but Marine training has continued ever since. Back then (prior to 1929), there were no roads leading into the island. Recruits had to take a ferry from the Port Royal docks to the Parris Island docks. In 1929, a bridge and a causeway were built over Archer Creek and provided Parris Island with a road connection.