I first saw earthquake bolts in Charleston, SC. They were used to reinforce or rebuild homes that were damaged or destroyed in the earthquake of 1886.
The earthquake bolt you see in this watercolor painting was first spotted by my grandson, John Tyler Brumfield, while we were on a family vacation. It’s on a building in the historic area of Staunton, VA. I am guessing this earthquake bolt is used to keep the building from falling into Lewis Creek that runs underground in parts of Staunton. I have been told there are other earthquake bolts on other buildings in Staunton, but I am fairly sure there has never been a significant earthquake there.
Back home in Rocky Mount, NC, I discovered earthquake bolts on one of the buildings at Rocky Mount Mills on the Tar River. Here the bolts are used to keep the second floor of the main building from collapsing onto the first floor if there is fire. Since the cotton mill burned several times in the nineteenth century, fire was a real concern when the mills were in operation.
Here is a brief history of the 1886 earthquake in Charleston, a description of the iron plates, nuts, and rods that make up the earthquake bolts in Charleston, and pictures of earthquake bolts on Charleston’s buildings.
Tell me what you know about other earthquake bolts on buildings.