Saturday, March 18, 2017

Hi All,

People are always asking me, what's it look like where you grew up, Dr. V.?  Ok, actually, no one has ever asked me that.  But I grew up in Summerville, SC, a town called The Flowertown in the Pines.

When my folks moved here back in 1963ish, this was a quiet, sleepy southern town where everyone knew everyone, and you could play in the moss-covered streets.  Historically it was a place where folks from Charleston went during summer to escape the heat.  It was quiet while I grew up, but as time went by, "they" got there.  Basically, Charleston expanded up I-26 until it overtook Summerville, and then it kept right on going.  Recently, Boeing opened up a huge plant, and Volvo will be opening a new factory in a couple of years.  It's nuts.

All the kids I went to school with seem to be either developers, contractors, realtors, or bankers.  A nearby town, Mount Pleasant, is used as an example in planning texts of a town that is completely built out - no space left to build anything.  My sister is a realtor, and she estimates the development of subdivisions is progressing about 2 miles a year up I-26.  Every corner holds another subdivision of  hundreds (literally) of nameless, identical houses - cheaply made to meet the demand.

However, when people think about my old town, they think about what's now called the historical district.  I used to just call it home.  I think what attracts people to the area is the dream of what was.

My folks have passed and we sold their house.  But Karin, Kristine, and I parked the truck and walked once around the block.  Here's what we saw....

Here's the house where I grew up.  The yard used to be a lot more grown up, but these folks cut a lot of trees and bushes out, and planted a lawn.  This house used to be an anex to the old Carolina Inn, one of those huge old white wooden inns where folks sat around in rockers and drunk iced tea.  It burn down when I was a kid.  You can see the live oaks and azaleas.  The yard was FULL of azaleas and other plants, but these have been cut.

The investor that bought it split off half the property to some other person who bulldozed the woods and built this new house.   I don't hate the way it looks, honestly.  I miss the trees I played in as a kid, though.

Here's the church across the street that we attended.

Next door neighbor's house.  This is very typical of old low country houses.  The porches open toward the breeze, they have tall ceilings (ours at 10 feet was low, many are 12 or even 14 feet, which contrasts to our 1860 home in MA, which has 7 foot ceilings to make it easy to heat), and they have HUGE symmetric windows facing the breeze, so the house is naturally cooled during hot summer days.  Although this one isn't, most houses are 6 or 8 feet off the ground, to allow the breeze to flow underneath the house.

Nother view of the same house, notice the shade giving live oaks.

Everyone has azaleas everywhere.

Dogwoods are very common

Here, they bulldozed down one of the few inexpensive houses, and will build something big and expensive, I guess.  Note that the trees are protected by fencing so they're not hurt during construction.

This is Elizabeth Arden's old house (the cosmetics mogul)  (This house was listed at 2.6 million dollars many years ago)

Brick posts and other structures are common, as are wrought iron fences.  Note the Spanish moss.  Also, see how this house is 6 or 8 feet off the ground.  These houses don't have any basements, the ground doesn't freeze, so you don't need deep foundations, and the water table is only about 4 feet down anyhow.

These standing seam tin roofs like on this house are very traditional.  The one on my folk's house is 100 years old, and still hanging in there.  Notice also how high this house is off the ground, and how the stairs open to welcome you up on the porch, sit in the swing, and have an iced tea.

This house is my absolute favorite.  The metal work on this roof is fantastic.  Check out how the metal is formed to bend on that round turret and the round porch in front.

It's a sad home indeed who's yard isn't full of dogwoods and azaleas and live oaks.

This is sort of typical of what an inexpensive house looked like.  Off the ground, standing metal roof, smaller.

So, that's a bit of what it looks like on a walk around my old block.  Set back and rest your feet, and have a cuppa.


  1. It's beautiful! Thanks for sharing a tour of the original homestead. Spring in SC is gorgeous.

    1. Thanks Robin, I don't know anyplace else that does spring like that!

  2. Honestly, I like the look of the home you grew up in better, but every house is beautiful in its own! Thanks for sharing, I'll have to scoot on over to SC sometime this Spring / Summer... only 6-9 hours from me!

    1. Thanks Meghan, I kinda miss living in a big old white house :-)