Lion Heads, Stars and Rosettes…

              Charles Towne, founded in 1670, was originally located on the west end of the Ashley River.  Finding itself as an easy target of foreign invaders, colonists relocated the city to its current location at Oyster Point only 10 years after its original establishment.  While the move aided in the protection of foreign invasions, it didn’t fend off unforeseen attacks below.  

Charleston was built on the Woodstock Fault Line, the source of a devastating earthquake in 1886.  The fault showed little activity prior to 1886, which scientists believe could’ve caused the severity of the disaster, damaging or destroying thousands of buildings in the area.  Fault line activity has been recorded since then, but it’s believed that the tremors are actually aftershocks from the original earthquake. 
In preparation for possible future quakes, architects rebuilt homes and buildings using “earthquake bolts,” formerly known as “pattress plates.”   These bolts anchor iron rods that run through the walls of buildings to help support the structure during an earthquake.  The design literally bolts the exterior of a building to its interior. 

                 Home and business owners made these bolts more aesthetically pleasing by placing shapes on top of the bolts, such as lion heads, stars, rosettes or even using stucco material.  Architects argue that the possibility of a future earthquake can be the only determining factor as to whether or not these bolts are actually beneficial.  While this practice may seem one of the past, businesses, such as the Charleston Cigar Factory, continue to incorporate the design into recent renovations. Regardless, the bolts remain a staple of traditional Charleston architecture, and are still easily admired on many historical buildings.

Ten Free Fun Things to Do in Charleston, SC

1.    The Market: Formerly known as Market Hall and Sheds, this open-air venue makes room for local vendors and shoppers. It is the perfect location to get a taste of Charleston culture, and enjoy an outdoor arena.


2.    Ravenel Bridge:  The largest cable-supported bridge in America offers a 12-foot gated walking path overlooking the Cooper River and harbors. The bridge satisfies runners, walkers, bikers and those who simply want a breathtaking view.
3.    The Battery: Built in 1837, this stretch of land along the Charleston Peninsula is home to dozens of antebellum homes. It serves as an historic site of the Civil War due to its location. Fort Sumter, U.S.S. Yorktown, Fort Moultrie and Sullivan’s Island can all be seen while strolling through the upscale neighborhood.
4.    Waterfront Park: Located downtown, the park entertains hundreds each day. Children can be found playing on an outdoor water pad, families picnicking under the shade of 200-year-old oak tress, or couples on large swings that overlook the Cooper River.
5.    Church Tours: The Holy City earns its nickname due to a skyline spotted by church steeples. The First Baptist Church of Charleston dates back to 1682, and has remained a central site to Charleston over the centuries. Like the Baptist Church, dozens of similar churches educate those fascinated by the traditional Charleston architecture.
6.    Angel Oak: Located on John’s Island, this live oak is estimated to be over 1400 years old. Folklore claims the tree to be home to spirits of deceased slaves who gather around the 65-foot tall tree.
7.    Art Galleries: Many galleries in the area truly emulate what Charleston culture is all about. Window-shopping in the stores can introduce even the un-trained eye to the beauty of the city through the perspective of a local artist.
8.    Gateway Garden Walk: An idea created in 1930 by the Charleston Garden, the walk connects four blocks in historic downtown. The stroll invites walkers into secret, hidden gardens, which are surrounded by oak trees above.
9.    Rainbow Row: This section of East Bay Street earns its name from a row of brightly colored, pastel homes. The homes are said to have helped ease the devastation post-Civil War by creating a friendly Caribbean-like atmosphere.
10.Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse: Also known as “Charleston Light”, the lighthouse can be seen 26 miles out to sea. It was first lit in 1962 and continues to serve as a geographic point for many sailors.