Sponsored by: Summerville Dream
Originally a summer retreat for Charlestonians looking to escape the heat and mosquitos, Summerville has blossomed into a bustling town filled with long-time locals and newcomers eager to experience Southern charms of a small town.
Summerville is an old town with a rich history, a thriving shopping and dining district, and a friendly spirit. And while thousands of people visit Summerville during the annual Flowertown Festival in the spring, there’s so much more to experience.
Here are 5 things you might not know about the Town of Summerville:
1. Summerville’s slogan, “Flowertown in the Pines,” was adopted in 1925 by the Chamber of Commerce. It still seems fitting for an azalea-filled town nestled amongst the towering pine trees.
2. In the early 1990s, Summerville’s historic downtown was facing tough times. Some 40 percent of the buildings were vacant. So two lifelong residents decided to take action. The result was the formation of Summerville DREAM in 1992, a nonprofit dedicated to revitalizing the downtown. Summerville DREAM continues to promote the town’s now healthy historic downtown with events, business advocacy and marketing efforts.
3. Timrod Library is one of just two membership libraries in South Carolina. The library traces its roots back to 1897 when a group of young Summerville women formed a Chautauqua Reading Circle. The library nestled in the historic district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. When the library was chartered, the founding group renamed the reading circle after Henry Timrod, a South Carolina poet. The library continues to offer lectures, book fairs, discussion groups, summer story time for children and more.
4. The roots of tea run deep in Summerville. The tea plant was first introduced in America in the late 1700s. For decades, many people unsuccessfully attempted to grow tea in South Carolina. Finally in 1888, Dr. Charles Shepard founded Pinehurst Tea Plantation in Summerville where he grew award-winning teas until his death in 1915. Those tea plants eventually were transplanted to what is today the Charleston Tea Plantation on Wadmalaw Island, where they continue to produce new plants – and tea – today.
5. Many Sculptures grace this Southern town. 25 bronze sculptures are situated around the Town of Summerville, an effort spearheaded by local non-profit Sculpture in the South since 1999. The sculptures – frogs, birds, dogs, children and more – are set in Azalea Park, around the historic town square and an area sports complex.
Summerville has shed its title as a bedroom community of Charleston, growing into a flourishing town of its own, with plenty to do.