Even the smallest of architectural details belie Charleston’s vast history.
The beautiful and charming streets of Charleston beckon visitors to take a stroll through history. While notable buildings and churches are must-sees during a walking tour, there are even more subtle details that are fun and interesting to note. Don’t blink or you might miss it.
Earthquake Bolts. On August 31, 1886, an earthquake measuring between magnitude 6.9 and 7.3 devastated the peninsula and surrounding area. As a result, over 90 percent of the structures in town suffered damage. To repair those buildings that were salvageable, earthquake bolts were inserted into them to “pull” the structure back together. This is a great way to spot pre- and post-1886 construction.
Shutter Holdbacks. Usually made of forged steel, the best of Charleston’s historic homes boast antique holdbacks for their shutters. Found in the simplest of styles to the most intricate of designs, holdbacks serve a specific purpose in a beautiful way.
Boot Scrapers. These are iron U-shaped tools placed in front of entrances or at the bottom of stoops. Back when horses were the main mode of transportation and streets weren’t paved, Charlestonians would scrape subsequent mud and manure off their shoes before entering homes.
Old Town Line. While walking south toward Battery Park, visitors will find where the paved road meets brick streets. This is where the oldest structures of Charleston lie.
Charleston Single House Architecture. Before air conditioning brought respite from the semitropical heat of Charleston, homes were built to make the most out of the peninsula’s ocean breezes. As a result, most of these historical homes face south/southwest and are constructed one room wide and two rooms deep. These are the original “energy-efficient” homes.