The town’s name comes from its history. In the 1700’s from May to September plantation owners along the Ashely River and nearby coastal areas flocked to this pine forested ridge to escape heat, disease and mosquitos. The colony was soon named Summerville. In 1696 puritans settles nearby and founded the settlement of Dorchester.
With the railroad in the 1800’s came modernization and village incorporation. As the trees were cut to build the rails and commercial areas the town passed it’s first law prohibiting cutting of trees of a certain size without permission. The fine was $25.
As the town tried to recover from heavy damage during the War Between the States the earthquake of 1886 caused massive destruction followed by a downtown fire. When the Congress of Physicians in Paris declared Summerville one of the 2 best places in the world for people with lung disorders the town began to grow with Inns and hotels. The turpentine scent of the trees was believed to be the cure. As people-built winter homes more and more people decided to stay.
Since the early 1900’s people have descended on Summerville in the spring to see the azaleas in bloom. The town continues to attract people and businesses coming for the quality of life.