Summerville, South Carolina

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Summerville, South Carolina
Motto: Sacra Pinus Esto ("The Pine is Sacred")
Location of Summerville, South Carolina
Location of Summerville, South Carolina
Coordinates: 33°0′29″N 80°10′58″W / 33.00806°N 80.18278°W / 33.00806; -80.18278Coordinates: 33°0′29″N 80°10′58″W / 33.00806°N 80.18278°W / 33.00806; -80.18278
Country United States
State South Carolina
Counties Dorchester, Berkeley, Charleston
 • Mayor William C. Collins
 • Total 18.1 sq mi (47.0 km2)
 • Land 18.0 sq mi (46.7 km2)
 • Water 0.1 sq mi (0.3 km2)
Elevation 89 ft (27 m)
Population (2013)
 • Total 44,719
 • Density 2,405/sq mi (928.5/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 29483-29485
Area code(s) 843
FIPS code 45-70270[1]
GNIS feature ID 1251073[2]

Summerville is a town in the U.S. state of South Carolina situated mostly in Dorchester County with small portions in Berkeley and Charleston counties. It is part of the Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population of Summerville at the 2010 census was 43,392,[3] and the estimated population was 44,719 as of July 1, 2013.


The center of Summerville is in southeastern Dorchester County; the town extends northeast into Berkeley and Charleston counties. It is bordered to the east by the town of Lincolnville and to the southeast by the city of North Charleston. The Summerville town limits extend south as far as the Ashley River next to Old Fort Dorchester State Historical Park.

U.S. Route 78 passes near the center of Summerville, leading southeast 24 miles (39 km) to downtown Charleston and northwest 29 miles (47 km) to Interstate 95 at St. George. Interstate 26 leads through the northeast corner of Summerville with access from Exit 199, leading southeast to Charleston and northwest 90 miles (140 km) to Columbia.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 18.1 square miles (47.0 km2), of which 18.0 square miles (46.7 km2) is land and 0.12 square miles (0.3 km2), or 0.62%, is water.[3]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 1,371
1890 2,219 61.9%
1900 2,420 9.1%
1910 2,355 −2.7%
1920 2,550 8.3%
1930 2,579 1.1%
1940 3,023 17.2%
1950 3,312 9.6%
1960 3,633 9.7%
1970 3,839 5.7%
1980 6,492 69.1%
1990 22,519 246.9%
2000 27,752 23.2%
2010 43,392 56.4%
Est. 2014 46,974 [4] 8.3%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census[1] of 2010, there were 43,392 people residing in 16,181 households in the town. The population density of Summerville is 2,404.7 inhabitants per square mile. The racial makeup of the town was 72.1% White, 21.4% Black or African American, 0.4% Native American, 1.5% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.6% from other races, and 2.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.0% of the population.

There were 16,181 households out of which 38.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.9% were married couples living together, 15.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.0% were non-families. 25.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55.

In the town, 27.0% of the population was under the age of 18, and 10.5% was 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34.7 years.

The median income for a household in the town was $54,677. About 11.2% of the population was below the poverty line. The median value of an owner-occupied home was $182,000.

The town has an abundance of affordable houses and lower taxes than cities such as Charleston and North Charleston, and has thus experienced rapid population growth. In 2007, it was designated a principal city of the Charleston–North Charleston–Summerville Metropolitan Statistical Area[5] Summerville is also included as part of the Charleston-North Charleston Urbanized area. Dorchester School District Two is the school district for Summerville and the wider area, and is based in the town.


Historic downtown Summerville

The first settlement in Summerville began following the American Revolutionary War; it was referred to as Pineland Village in 1785. Development in the area resulted from plantation owners who resided in the Charleston area, and who came to Summerville to escape seasonal insects and swamp fever.[6]

Summerville became an official town in 1847. In that year, the town passed a law against cutting down trees of particular sizes, the first of such laws in the United States, and a $25 fine was issued upon any who did so without permission. Today, the motto upon the town's official seal reads "Sacra Pinus Esto (The Pine is Sacred)." [7]

In 1899, the International Congress of Physicians (or "Tuberculosis Congress"[6]) listed Summerville to be one of the two best areas in the world for treatment and recovery of lung and throat disorders. It received such notation due to its dry and sandy location, and the many pine trees in the area that release turpentine derivatives into the air. This notation is credited with aiding the commercial and residential development of Summerville.[7]

The Ashley River Road, Middleton Place, Colonial Dorchester State Historic Site, Old White Meeting House Ruins and Cemetery, and the Summerville Historic District are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[8]


Starting in 1973, the town of Summerville has hosted the annual Flowertown Festival. It is the largest arts and crafts festival in South Carolina. It is held the first weekend of April in the Summerville Azalea Park. In 1925, these flowers led Summerville's Chamber of Commerce to adopt the slogan "Flower Town in the Pines."

Museums, historical sites and other attractions located in the nearby City of Charleston[edit]

The Gibbes Art Gallery displays local art, including many works from the early 20th century Charleston Renaissance.
The Calhoun Mansion at 16 Meeting Street was built in 1876 by George Williams but derives its name from a later occupant, his grandson-in-law Patrick Calhoun.
  • Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum located in the nearby town of Mount Pleasant. It includes the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown (CV-10), destroyer USS Laffey (DD-724), submarine USS Clamagore (SS-343), Cold War Submarine Memorial (SSBN and SSN), Vietnam Support Base and Experience Exhibit, and Medal of Honor Museum.
  • The Calhoun Mansion, a 24,000 square foot, 1876 Victorian home at 16 Meeting Street, named for a grandson of John C. Calhoun who lived there with his wife, the builder's daughter. The private house is periodically open for tours.
  • The Charleston Museum, America's first museum, founded in 1773. Its mission is to preserve and interpret the cultural and natural history of Charleston and the South Carolina Lowcountry.
  • The Exchange and Provost was built in 1767. The building, located on Broad Street, has served as a customhouse, mercantile exchange and military prison and barracks. During the American Revolution, it was used as a prison by both the British and Continental Armies; later it hosted events for George Washington in 1791 and the ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1788. It is operated as a museum by the Daughters of the American Revolution.
  • The Powder Magazine is a 1713 gunpowder magazine and museum. It is the oldest surviving public building in South Carolina.
  • The Gibbes Museum of Art opened in 1905 and houses a premier collection of principally American works with a Charleston or Southern connection.
  • The Fireproof Building houses the South Carolina Historical Society, a membership-based reference library open to the public.
  • The Nathaniel Russell House is an important Federal style house. It is owned by the Historic Charleston Foundation and open to the public as a house museum.
  • The Gov. William Aiken House, also known as the Aiken-Rhett House, is a home built in 1820 for William Aiken, Jr.
  • The Heyward-Washington House is a historic house museum owned and operated by the Charleston Museum. Furnished for the late 18th century, the house includes a collection of Charleston-made furniture.
  • The Joseph Manigault House is a historic house museum owned and operated by the Charleston Museum. The house was designed by Gabriel Manigault and is significant for its Adam style architecture.
  • The Market Hall and Sheds, also known as the City Market or simply the Market, stretch several blocks behind 188 Meeting Street. Market Hall was built in the 1841 and houses the Daughters of the Confederacy Museum. The sheds house some permanent stores but are mainly occupied by open-air vendors.
  • The Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture was established to collect, preserve, and make public the unique historical and cultural heritage of African Americans in Charleston and the South Carolina Lowcountry. Avery's archival collections, museum exhibitions, and public programming reflect these diverse populations as well as the wider African Diaspora.
  • South Carolina Aquarium
  • Fort Sumter, site of the first shots fired in the Civil War, is located in Charleston Harbor. The National Park Service maintains a visitor center for Fort Sumter at Liberty Square (near the South Carolina Aquarium), and boat tours including the fort depart from nearby.
  • The Battery is an historic defensive seawall and promenade located at the tip of the peninsula along with White Point Garden, a park featuring several memorials and Civil-War-era artillery pieces.
  • Rainbow Row is an iconic strip of homes along the harbor that date back to the mid-18th century. Though the homes themselves are not open to the public, they are one of the most photographed attractions in the city and are featured heavily in local art.[9]

Museums, historical sites, and other attractions located in the nearby City of North Charleston[edit]

  • The H.L. Hunley Museum is located at the old Naval Base in North Charleston. The Civil War-era submarine, recovered from the ocean floor August 8, 2000, is undergoing restoration and examination. There are scores of artifacts that have been recovered from the submarine on display. The Hunley bears the distinction of being the first successful combat submarine in the world.
  • The Greater Charleston Naval Memorial is located at Riverfront Park on the old Navy Yard. It features sculptures of the different types of ships built and serviced at the Charleston Naval Shipyard, and also features full-size replicas of the Lone Sailor and Homecoming sculptures.
  • The North Charleston and American LaFrance Fire Museum and Educational Center is located between Tanger Outlet Mall and the North Charleston Coliseum. The museum is filled with one-of-a-kind and antique vehicles and fire equipment (some from as early as the mid 18th century) and utilizes multiple interactive displays.


Climate data for Summerville, South Carolina (Airport), 1981–2010 normals
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 59.0
Average low °F (°C) 38.1
Average precipitation inches (mm) 3.70
Average snowfall inches (cm) 0.1
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 9.5 8.6 7.9 7.7 7.8 11.9 13.0 13.2 10.0 7.3 7.0 8.7 112.6
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 0.1 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.2 0.4
Mean monthly sunshine hours 179.8 189.3 244.9 276.0 294.5 279.0 288.3 257.3 219.0 223.2 189.0 170.5 2,810.8
Source: NOAA,[10] HKO (sun only, 1961–1990)[11]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Summerville town, South Carolina". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved April 7, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Update of Statistical Area Definitions and Guidance on Their Uses (OMB Bulletin 08 - 01)" (CSV). Office of Management and Budget, Executive Office of the President. November 20, 2007. Retrieved 2008-11-19. 
  6. ^ a b Historic Facts About Summerville & Dorchester County 
  7. ^ a b Summerville's Book of History 
  8. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  9. ^ Jinkins, Shirley (February 23, 1997). "Charleston S.C. has had a long and turbulent history, but a remarkable number of its buildings have survived". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2012-05-30. 
  10. ^ "NowData – NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2012-02-12. 
  11. ^ "Climatological Normals of Charleston, South Carolina". Hong Kong Observatory. Retrieved 2010-06-09. 
  12. ^ Leigh Guidry (March 25, 2015). "LC board names South Carolina VP as ninth president". The Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved July 23, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Richard B. Brewer". Retrieved July 23, 2015. 

External links[edit]