95 Market St.

Today: Wells Fargo Bank; the bank is on the site of the former building, which was razed

Yesterday: Continental Restaurant, December 1900-January 1901

On the menu: Unknown


Poor Monsieur Blatteur. The Frenchman moved to Charleston for love, but didn’t make any plans for money.

V.M. Blatteur was living in Pennsylvania when he enlisted in the U.S. Army; during the Spanish-American War, his regiment ended up stationed in Charleston. Blatteur courted a woman here, and promised he would return to marry her. He two years later made good on his promise, wedding his wife in May 1900.

As The News and Courier reported, “he worked first at one thing, then at another,” saving up to open a restaurant in a former barbershop on a busy commercial street. The restaurant was “well furnished” in the newspaper reporter’s estimation, but didn’t attract many customers in its first few weeks.

Blatteur was so anguished over the situation that he decided to kill himself.

“After putting all of his money into the restaurant and getting none in return, it was a case of starve or die,” The News and Courier explained. “He preferred the latter.”

Or at least thought he did, for a fleeting moment. Immediately after downing laudanum, an opiate that was widely available prior to the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act of 1914, Blatteur ran to his wife and begged her to save his life. She called a policeman, who tried to revive him with hot water and salt. When that didn’t work, the cop called a doctor. Soon after the doctor arrived, Blatteur regained consciousness and “a wild desire to live.”

But he no longer had any interest in the restaurant business. Blatteur apparently closed The Continental for good.

— Hanna Raskin

Reach Hanna Raskin at 843-937-5560 and follow her on Twitter @hannaraskin.

Food editor and chief critic

Eating all of the chicken livers just as fast as I can.