"E" is for Earthquake Rods

Nov 10, 2020

Credit SC Public Radio

"E" is for Earthquake rods. Earthquake rods are long pieces of iron several inches in diameter that are inserted through the walls of buildings to reinforce them. The rods are screwed into turnbuckles or toggles and are secured at the outside ends with large washers and nuts. Prior to the great Charleston of 1886 these reinforcement rods were incorporated into buildings in Charleston and elsewhere to safeguard against gales and hurricanes. After 1886, repairmen ran these rods through the walls of hundreds of buildings injured by the Charleston earthquake to guard them from further injury. Owners who objected to seeing the unadorned ends of earthquake rods on the exteriors of their buildings covered them with stucco or capped them with cast iron decorations depicting such objects as stars, lion heads, butterflies, diamonds, and crosses.