Wednesday, July 30, 2014
It was 42 years ago this month that my wife, Margaret, and I and our two pre-school age children rolled into Summerville from Atlanta to make a new home for ourselves and where I could start a weekly newspaper. We met with Nancy Bauer, a real estate agent, who helped us find a rental house on the Tea Farm. And I subsequently met with Mayor Berlin Myers to see if he knew of a building on Main Street I could rent for a newspaper office. He and Bob Suddeth who was visiting with him at the time sent me to see John Mickalis who owned a brick house at 515 North Main Street. The house was empty – a palm reader had just moved out – and John agreed to rent it to me for $125 a month for six months. After that, he said, I needed to move because McDonald’s was buying the property.
I knew no one in Summerville when we moved here but chose it to start my paper because Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties were predicted to be the growth spots in the decade of the ‘70’s.
Over the next few weeks before I put out my first edition of The Summerville Journal, I met a lot of residents who were cordial and encouraging.
I liked what I found as I called on merchants up and down Main Street to tell them about my newspaper and share advertising opportunities. There were two department stores on the square – Barshay’s and Saul Alexander’s; Hal Marshall operated a five-and dime, Izzy Wolper had Dorchester Jewelers, Punky Canaday operated a Piggly Wiggly located alongside Town Hall and there were three other grocery stores in town – Waters Red and White, a Colonial Store and an A & P grocery. Melia Hardware was two doors down from my newspaper office. The OK Grocery on Main Street was owned and operated by Nick Mickalis. Across the street a Hardee’s had just opened.
The movie theater on Main Street was operating and inside trophies (animal heads) adorned the walls, trophies collected from hunting expeditions by Sidney and Gertrude LeGendre who owned the theater. Cauthen’s Hardware was on West Richardson Ave. and Kramer’s Pharmacy was on the corner of Richardson and Short Central. Langston Motors on Main Street sold Mercedes. E. M. Jones Chevrolet was across the street from Berlin Myers Lumber. Bill Corbett and Jackie Roumillat were building a new restaurant on Hwy. 78 west – the Quill Inn (today it is Oscar’s).
The Dorchester Coca Cola Bottling Company was in operation on Cedar Street. Tupper’s Pharmacy was at the end of Short Central and Seymour’s clothing store was on the other end.
Summerville Plaza was under construction with plans to open in the fall of 1972. Trolley Road was two lanes leading out of Summerville.
I thought Summerville was about the most picturesque little town I had ever seen.
One Sunday we engaged a babysitter for the kids and Margaret and I drove into Charleston for a brunch at The Mills House.
As we returned home later that afternoon and I was driving down Main Street, I stopped the car near Simmons Corners so that a chicken could cross the road. With its burgeoning population and accompanying traffic, a chicken wouldn’t stand much of a chance on Main Street these days.
O how thankful I am for precious memories.