Last week Mother Nature threw some surprises our way. Hurricane Irene hurtled up the coast and an unexpected earthquake shook us up. The city was spared from any real damage this time, but Charleston has a checkered past with storms and natural disasters.
In 1886, a 7-point Richter Scale quake and widespread fire devastated downtown Charleston. The quake was so massive that even of our sister city Savannah and nearby Tybee Island were effected.
At the time of the great earthquake, William M. Bird & Co, then a wholesale paint company, took up residence in our present-day location at 205 East Bay Street. The building was completely destroyed with exception of the cast iron storefront. The Birds, true Charleston survivors, rebuilt their store from a pile of rubble and stayed in business at the same location until the 1950’s.
The earthquake of 1886 affected life here in a major way. Amen Street Fish & Raw Bar has a deep appreciation for the history of our fantastic location: earthquake and all. When building Amen Street, Owner Keith Jones was sure to weave pieces of the building’s history throughout the restaurant. Surviving French plate glass and an iron column from the quake can be found at Amen’s gorgeous bar.
Charleston is always at the will of nature’s powerful forces, but we’d like to ask that all 1886-style quakes and Hugo-style hurricanes stay clear of our pretty little city.