Lowcountry Living: Summerville
Sweet tea, azaleas, and good people: that's what you'll find in the small town of Summerville.
Summerville began in the early 1820's as an escape from the rampant malaria during the Summers in Charleston. The early settlers traveled on Bacon's Bridge Road and ended up at the bluffs next to the Sawmill Branch. The "country fever" was thought to be caused by the smells of the marshland in the Lowcountry. In reality, it was due to the swamps housing the source of the disease, mosquitoes, and the fact that the soil in Summerville was able to drain away the water which made it harder for the mosquitoes to breed. By 1830, the settlers were bringing their families during the summertime in order to keep them healthy because they believed there was something about the pines that kept the fever away. The settlers called their town "Summerville," which was officially established in 1847 and continues to thrive to this day.
If you think that you won't find anything to do in the Flowertown, you would be very mistaken! Summerville is home to over one hundred bars and restaurants, which include seven bed and breakfasts. There are countless boutique and locally owned shops and many larger chain stores as well. Every third Thursday of the month is the perfect oportunity to check out the life of Summerville. Most of the local shops and restaurants stay open late and the community gathers together in the Historic District to enjoy live music. If you stop by the Welcome Center on Main Street, you will find guides for several walking tours including "Summerville's Walking Trail of Homes and Flowers" and a bird sculpture walking tour, "B.I.R.D.S. - Birds In Residence: Downtown Summervile." If you would rather sit than walk, there is no better place to sit than at Azalea Park. Filled with beautiful flowers and sculptures, it almost impossible to find a better spot to picnic. Only about a block away from Azalea Park, you can find the Flowertown Theater, home of the Flowertown Players - a great spot to sit and enjoy the talent of local artists perform plays and musicals.
Many people all over the world are beginning to see just how great Summerville is. In 2010, Summerville's population was estimated to be 42,591 and grew to an estimated 48,848 by 2015. That is an increase of almost 15% over five years! To put that in perspective, the national average population sported an increase of a mere 4.1% from 2010 to 2015. Much of this growth is due to the job market, Boeing, Google, MUSC, and many other large corporations all just a stones throw away. Volvo is expected to begin production of its S60 in Ridgeville in 2018 and it plans on shipping them through the port of Charleston. Dr. Frank Hefner of the College of Charleston predicts that this will bring 8,000 jobs to the Summerville and Charleston area. In other words, the growth which is over three times the national average is not expected to slow down any time soon.
Summerville is so much more than exit 199 on I-26. Summerville is the town where I played football in high school, the town where I was married, and will be the town where my family lives for as long as I can imagine. I love Summerville, and I love where Summerville is heading.