"Summerville conjures up an image of a warm, small community, a place to live your leisure... Summerville says century old high beamed homes with wide porches and gleaming heart pine floors set along moseying byways. Her voice breathes tranquilly through regal pines and moss laden oaks. It gentles across the silky pedals of her renown trumpet-shaped blooms...Summerville speaks of beauty...Her heritage is proudly recollected by her people." I could not have penned it more eloquently than this quotation taken from the Sesquicentennial Edition of Summerville.
Most of Summerville's distinguished history like an exhaled breath of air has been scattered by the winds of time. Yet, to get an invigorating breath of Summerville's pastoral past one only has to go to the deeply rooted pines of Summerville. From their exhales of written and oral memoirs, life is infused into Summerville's narrative landscape. Add to these the carefully preserved images of past and present icons and the story clearly unfolds before you. The following is my second installment of the landmarks and stories yesterday and today of its collective record.
Guerin's Pharmacy was founded in 1871 by Dr. Henry C. Guerin after buying out Schwettman Drugstore and moving the business to South Main Street and Richardson Ave. The Dunnings later acquired the pharmacy in 1975. When they were remodeling the interior they discovered a white chalk message scrawled on a wall by Joe Guerin in an upstairs office. The message documented the tragic sinking of the Titanic in 1912.
The Summerville Short would leave the train depot on the square and after a long whistle, stop at 'West End.' It was sometimes also called Hickory Hill. In the 1880's J.H. Averill, superintendent of the railroad, built a small stop at Hickory Street near the tracks. It would stop to pick up area businessmen. The train would then go a block and a half to the turntable to turn around and then steam towards downtown Charleston.
Like the train station, the stop at 'West End' is gone.
Squirrel Inn was built by Raven and Helen Lewis and opened around 1912. In 1941, the Sutter's bought the Inn. In 1957, it was nominated one of the top forty rural inns in the nation. Specialties of the house were continental cuisine and its well stocked wine cellar. One of Eugene Sutter's hobbies was raising camellias. Author Paul Hyde Bonner was a winter guest at the Inn and used it in one of his best selling novels, "Llewellyn Jones", referred to in the book as the Redbird Inn.
Middleton Place was established in 1741. Four generations of Middleton's occupied the estate. Days after the fall of Charleston in 1865, on February 22nd, the Main House and flanking buildings were ransacked and burned by a detachment of the 56th New York Regiment. The ground was strewn with books, paintings and other family treasures. William Middleton restored the South Flanker. What was left of the Main House and North Flanker toppled in the Earthquake of 1886.
The restored South Flanker survived and is a museum today. Middleton Place is a National Historic Landmark and home to America’s Oldest Landscaped Gardens visited by thousands.
(Pictures taken from Images of America-Summerville by Jerry Crotty and Margaret Ann Michels, Porch Rocker Recollections, Summerville Sesquicentennial Edition, and City of Heroes by Richard N. Cote)