South Carolina

Earthquake Bolts – Charleston, South Carolina

South Carolina  |  SC Picture Project  |  Charleston County Photos  |  Earthquake Bolts

This lovely picture of the rooftops in historic Charleston holds a clue to past tragedy in the city. Can you pick it out?

This image is copyrighted. You may not use it without written consent.

The black cross on the side of the orange building is an earthquake bolt – added to many buildings that survived or were built after the devastating quake that shook Charleston on August 31, 1886. It remains one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded on the Eastern Seaboard, with tremors felt over a span of 2.5 million square miles – from New York to Cuba, and from Bermuda to the Mississippi River.

Many brick and masonry buildings in Charleston, including the city’s three hospitals, crumbled to the ground within minutes. Afterward, builders installed reinforcing bolts to strengthen their buildings. Earthquake bolts have two parts – a plate and an iron rod. The plate on the outside of the building connects to a rod that passes through the building and then bolts to the timber frame on the interior. This, in effect, literally bolts the exterior masonry to the structural timber frame of the building.

Since the plates are visible on the outside wall of a building, they are often crafted as decorative elements in the shape of crosses, circles, scrolls, or stars.

Some suspect the bolts would not protect buildings in the event of another strong earthquake. Thankfully, though minor rumblings have been felt, South Carolina has so far been spared another serious seismic upheaval.

Earthquake Bolts – Add Info and More Photos

The purpose of the South Carolina Picture Project is to celebrate the beauty of the Palmetto State and create a permanent digital repository for our cultural landmarks and natural landscapes. We invite you to add additional pictures (paintings, photos, etc) of Earthquake Bolts, and we also invite you to add info, history, stories, and travel tips. Together, we hope to build one of the best and most loved SC resources in the world!


The South Carolina Picture Project is a volunteer project which earns no profit. We work hard to ensure its accuracy, but if you see a mistake, please know that it is not intentional and that we are more than happy to update our information if it is incorrect. That said, our goal is to create something positive for our state, so please make your comments constructive if you would like them to be published. Thank you!

2 Comments about Earthquake Bolts

c sohnsNo Gravatar says:
November 7th, 2014 at 11:12 am

I have recently come across two of these and thinking of selling them. For any info or if interested please contact.

Christi Reynolds Hatfield says:
October 11th, 2014 at 2:03 pm

I have personally seen these…awesome.

Earthquake Bolts - Related Entries

The Governor Thomas Bennett House

Daniel Cannon House

Roper House in Charleston
Roper House

William Aiken House Upstairs Porches

Wentworth Mansion

Pirate House Church Street
Pirate House

Charleston Harbor Container Ship

St. John's Lutheran Gates

German Fire Company Chalmers Street


Join Us on Facebook
Our 5 Goals
Our Contributors
Add Info
Add Pictures
Search for Pictures
Missing Landmarks


Abbeville ACE Basin Aiken Allendale Anderson Awendaw Bamberg Banks Barns & Farms Barnwell Batesburg-Leesville Beaches Beaufort Beech Island Belton Bennettsville Bishopville Blackville Bluffton Bridges Bygone Landmarks Camden Carnegie Libraries Cemeteries Charleston Charleston Navy Base Cheraw Chester Churches Clemson Clinton Clio Colleges Columbia Conway Cordesville Courthouses Darlington Denmark Dillon Donalds Easley Edgefield Edisto Elloree Fairfax Florence Folly Beach Forests and Nature Preserves Fountain Inn Gaffney Garden City Beach Georgetown Glenn Springs Graniteville Greeleyville Greenville Greenwood Greer Hamburg Hampton Hartsville Hemingway Hilton Head Historical Photos Historic Houses Honea Path Hopkins Huger Hunting Island Isle of Palms Jails James Island Johns Island Johnsonville Johnston Kiawah Island Kingstree Lake City Lake Marion Lakes Lancaster Landrum Latta Laurens Lexington Libraries Lighthouses Little River Manning Marion McClellanville McCormick Military Mills Moncks Corner Mountains Mount Carmel Mount Pleasant Mullins Murrells Inlet Myrtle Beach National Register Newberry Ninety Six North Augusta North Charleston North Myrtle Beach Orangeburg Pacolet Parks Pawleys Island Pendleton Pickens Piers Pinopolis Plantations Port Royal Post Offices Ravenel Restaurants Ridge Spring Ridgeway Rivers Roadside Oddities Robert Mills Rock Hill Rockville Rosenwald Schools Salters Saluda Savannah River Site SC Artists SC Heroes of the Alamo Schools Seneca Shrimp Boats Society Hill Spartanburg Sports Springs St. George St. Helena Island St. Matthews Stores Sullivan's Island Summerton Summerville Sumter Sunset Synagogues Town Clocks Trains & Depots Trees Trenton Turbeville Ulmer Union Wadmalaw Island Walhalla Walterboro Waterfalls Water Towers West Columbia Westminster Winnsboro Yemassee York