I thought I'd share a little info about my little town. I've heard many people (mainly from northern states) respond to the name, Summerville, in ways that express the longing for the summer sun. The name sort-of gives a fantastical daydream of sun-swept fields and romantic cuddles on the local sandbar. Then you hear Flower Town in the pines and you are taken to playful frolics through a forest to collect the abundant rainbow of Azaleas.
Being in the South Carolina Low Country, you may be aware that our Autumn lasts about a month or two. We sometimes have a winter. Our spring lasts about two weeks, and summer is king for the rest of the year. What you may not know about is the extreme humidity. South Carolina is a state of forests and swamps. To the country, our state bird is the Carolina wren. However, if you ask a South Carolinian, it is the mosquito! Which brings me back to the name "Summerville."
For those those that don't know where Summerville, SC is: Summerville is only a hop, skip, and jump away from Charleston, SC. And with good reason. Summerville wasn't named for the royal rule of the sun. Summervillians were actually Charlestonians that sought higher, dryer land in the 1700's and early 1800's to escape the mosquitos and the malaria that the hot, wet summer brings with it. Not quite the perfect setting you were imagining, huh?
Then in the early early 1900's people from as far away as France started flocking to Summerville when the International Congress of Physicians declared Summerville as one of the two best places in the world for the treatment and recovery of lung disorders thanks to the turpentine scent of our pine forests. Proud of Summerville's environment-based heritage, a "Tree City USA" flag from the Arbor Day Foundation adorns the pole in front of Town Hall along with Old Glory. It's no wonder the motto on the town's official seal is "Sacra Pinus Esto- The Pine is Sacred".
The little forest town has exploded in the past 30 years from a population of 3,000 to 33,000 people seeking a quality of life that cities have lost. How long do you suppose until Summerville loses that quality, too? Many of us believe that loss has already begun. People come from all over the world to see our annual Azalea Festival (also known as the Flower Town Festival.) It seems like those in important chairs are making efforts to be more like our parent city, Charleston, than like the Flower Town we all know and love. Futuristic visions are starting to overshadow the the 700 historically registered buildings.
Maybe it is just jealousy of the attention that Charleston gets by stars like Charleston native, Darius Rucker, whose newest album released this year (2010), "Charleston, SC 1966" consists of videos shot in the brick and cobblestone streets of Downtown Charleston, and at the surrounding Charleston plantations. Or maybe it is mover's regret for leaving Charleston before the city sinks into the Atlantic.