Monday, April 6, 2015

Earthquake (Bolts)

"E" day at the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

Charleston, South Carolina, lives under a triple threat of disaster:  earthquake,  hurricane and tsunami.  Actually, make it four - flood, too.

These people are survivors, and it shows in their historic buildings.

If you walk through downtown Charleston, you will see buildings with strange metal objects on the walls.  Everything in Charleston has a story, and these objects are no exception.
Here is one of these close up.  If you think they are decorations, you are only partially right.

On the afternoon of September 1, 1886 a 7.3 magnitude earthquake hit Charleston.  Almost every building in the city was damaged, and damage extended as far north as Maine and as far west as Iowa.

Back in 1865, in the closing months of the United States Civil War, Union troops had burned down a lot of Charleston (the city where the war started).  Times had been hard.  Even by 1886, the city, and the people, didn't have many resources to rebuild.
So they did the next best thing.  They took the buildings, put them back together as best they could, and ran long iron rods through the walls for reinforcement.  The end plates, called gib plates, anchor the rods.  Many have a decorated cap and are decorated with lions heads, stars or even wings.

The Peter Bocquet House, above, dates from 1770 and would have been lost to history if not for what the people of Charleston had to do out of necessity.
Here's one more for you, on either side of the window above.

No one knows if these "earthquake bolts" will work until the next "big one" comes. 

16 comments:

  1. I dont think I've ever heard of earthquake bolts before. Let's hope they work!

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    1. People in Charleston we talked to think the "big one" is overdue, so I hope so, too.

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  2. That's a neat bit of information. I had no idea what those bolts were for.

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  3. Once again, a fascinating post - and I have seen pictures of those "ornamental" images and had no idea of their hidden purpose! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thank you-it's something unique, I believe, to Charleston.

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  4. Cool, I love little historical insights like this!

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  5. This was an interesting read. I was not aware of anything called as earthquake bolts existing! Thanks for sharing. :)
    *Shantala @ ShanayaTales*

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  6. It's funny that www.Justkeepinitrealfolks.com also wrote about Charleston, and we're on E. It's clearly a historic place.

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  7. Not only are they decorative, but hopefully a safety and structural feature. Let's hope they never get tested. Very resourceful of the rebuilders.
    Sue at CollectInTexas Gal
    AtoZ 2015 Challenge
    Minion for AJ's wHooligans

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  8. I only felt on earthquake which center was http://earthquaketrack.com/us-id-challis/recent Coffee is on

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  9. Charleston must be an otherwise wonderful place to live, if people are willing to chance such disasters. Earthquake bolts are something I've not heard of before. Here's hoping they hold up well!

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  10. I know of lightning protectors for houses, but these are new to me!! I hope they work too!!

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  11. I've been in a 6.7 earthquake. I sure hope those bolts work - those buildings are too beautiful to be lost!

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