Friday, December 13, 2013

The Landmarks And Stories Of Summerville's Enchanted Past-A Visual Walk Part Two

"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.

Guerin's Pharmacy is the oldest operating pharmacy in South Carolina. Bring the family and order a float, milkshake, hot dog or lemonade from its fountain. They have South Carolina souvenirs, post cards, Yardley products, LorAnn oils, and the best candy counter in town. It is still owned by the Dunnings.

The first train station in Summerville was of Victorian style design with elaborate gingerbread trim. It stood at the north end of the Square. The station survived the Civil War and the earthquake of 1886, but was moved in the early 1900's to Ladson to make way for a larger station. Business commuters would arrive to the station by horses and carriages for their daily trips into Charleston. Charleston planters and their families would come from Charleston for their seasonal stays.

The last train station was sadly torn down in the 1960's. The train no longer stops to take commuters into Charleston or anywhere else. Only vacant space with trees remains. There are hopes that someday the train will return.

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.

Before Averill, Henry T. Peake was head of the railroad after the Civil War. He lived at White Gables, which at that time backed up to the tracks. He would have the train stop at his back gate to take him to his office in 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.

The Squirrel Inn closed its doors in 1970. It was converted into condominiums.

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.

In the early 1900's, the Arcade Theatre stood on Main Street across from Town Square. The triple-arched facade housed a long, arcade walkway that led to a 250-seat capacity building where silent films complete with violin and piano accompaniment were viewed. Around the early 1930's, Summerville went through a major reconstruction. The facade and many of the buildings in the east block adjacent to the Square were demolished.

The Arcade Theatre was located where Treasure Box Collections, Edible Arrangements, and Karate are today.

(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)

2 comments: said...

How very interesting. I have lived in Summerville for over 50 years and enjoy anything that has to do with the history of the town. I continue to be educated about Summerville every day. Please continue with your articles. The I Grew Up in Summerville Facebook page is a great way to show your posts.

Rick Dunbar said...

Thank you for your comment dalem50.