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White Gables — Summerville, South Carolina

SC Picture Project  |  Dorchester County  |  White Gables

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White Gables

Historic Summerville is home to this 1830s brick and clapboard residence, built around the time the “new” part of town was laid out by the South Carolina Canal and Railroad Company in 1832. In fact, the estate was home to Henry Peak, an officer with the railroad company. There are earlier homes in the “old” part of Summerville, developed when the hamlet was a planters’ refuge, but White Gables was one of the earliest homes built in its vicinity.

White Gables Summerville

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The three-story house rests on an acre and a half in the heart of town, yet it remains secluded from the ever-growing community. An enclosed octagonal gazebo with a cupola, identical to ones found at Thomas Jeffferson’s Monticello in Virginia, was built on the property in 1893. It originally served as a privy.

White Gables Privy

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The late nineteenth century brought an increase in population and a building boom to Summerville as several resort inns were established in the town during this time. The village’s convenient stop on the railroad to Charleston made it a popular place to stay following the Civil War. Even White Gables operated as an inn for a short period. Today it is a private residence.

White Gables Postcard

White Gables is listed in the National Register as part of the Summerville Historic District:

Summerville originated as a pineland summer refuge for low country planters. Originally the streets were laid out without any plan and winding roads still characterize the oldest section of town. This “old town” lies in the southwestern portion of the historic district and contains about two thirds of the land and half the structures of the district. The South Carolina Canal and Railroad Company laid out the more regular “new town” in 1832. Streets run parallel and at right angles to the track laid in 1830-1831. The “old town” and that portion of the “new town” were incorporated into the village of Summerville in 1847. Following the Civil War, wealthy northerners began wintering there. The town’s designation in 1887 as a health spot gave it an impetus as a resort, which was not lost until the Depression of the 1930s.

There are approximately seven hundred structures within the nominated area; about 70% predate World War I. Uniting the different building styles of the town is a common sensitivity to the natural setting and to the local landscaping traditions reflected in streetscapes, parks and gardens. Raised cottages, Greek Revival influenced, and Victorian/Queen Anne and other turn of the century structures are found throughout. Antebellum buildings are principally located in the southern and western areas. Churches are located in the center of the district, and the commercial buildings—most dating from around 1900—are located on either side of the town square in front of the present town hall, which faces the railroad. Additionally, Summerville has been the center for azalea culture and there is a variety of azaleas popularly named “The Pride of Summerville.”

More Pictures of White Gables

Summerville, White Gables

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

White Gables, Summerville, Street View

Terri Vines of Summerville, 2018 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

White Gables Summerville Guest House

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

White Gables Summerville Kitchen House

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

White Gables Staircase

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Reflections on White Gables

Brandon Coffey, who contributed some of the photos above, also shared this wonderful information:

“This home, known as White Gables, is located in downtown Summerville and is one of my absolute favorites. Summerville was a pineland refuge for wealthy plantation owners (planters). These planters and their families would seek areas surrounding pine trees, away from lower areas of water and marsh. The air in these places was thought to have been healthier, and it was also an escape from the more mosquito-infested areas of their plantations.

White Gables, Rear

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

“This large, pre-Civil War, three-story home was built in 1830 and was the personal residence of Henry Peak, an officer with the South Carolina Canal and Railroad Company. The house was built in the popular Greek Revival style and boasts twelve rooms. The first floor is of masonry construction, and the top two levels are clapboard.

White Gables

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

“The octagonal privy (gazebo) on the side of the home is one of the rarest and finest examples of a privy in this country. It was built in 1893 and, according to the Historic Charleston Foundation, matches two identical privies located on Thomas Jefferson’s estate, Monticello.”

White Gables Summerville Privy

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

White Gables Info

Address: 603 West Richardson Avenue, Summerville, SC 29483
GPS Coordinates: 33.023636,-80.183338

White Gables Map

Please Share Your Thoughts!

Did you enjoy this page? Do you have any information we should add? Send us your comments below — we can't wait to hear from you!

6 Comments about White Gables

Jayne Violette says:
September 17th, 2018 at 8:35 pm

Steven Lang, I would love to talk to you. I’ve been doing a bit of research on White Gables and you are SO fortunate to have bought this place! I am not a relative, like Gretchen Shea, but I’ve got some interesting facts and stories to share with you. Also (being really presumptive here), I would very much like to see what you’ve done to White Gables since you purchased it. Please feel free to email me at jviolett@uscb.edu or call me at my USCB office at (843)-208-8346.

Jayne Violette says:
September 3rd, 2018 at 7:00 pm

Gretchen Shea, was your great grandmother also known as “Sarah” Woodruff? I would very much like to speak to you about some research I am doing on the Woodruffs and White Gables Inn. Could you please contact me at jviolett@uscb.edu? I would love to see the Aikman painting as well and learn more about his time at White Gables.

SCIWAY says:
April 15th, 2018 at 7:32 pm

What a wonderful comment to read, we are looking forward to seeing the paintings! Thanks so much for being willing to share them with us. Do you know where the recorded memories are available to view or listen to?

Gretchen Shea says:
April 15th, 2018 at 1:14 pm

My great grandmother, Sally Woodruff owned White Gables. My mother and aunt spent their holidays there traveling by train from New Jersey (my grandfather worked for Pennsylvania RR). Both of them have been interviewed by the historical society about their memories. In the family we have two paintings or White Gables by W. Aikman which we will photograph and upload in the near future.

Bunny Frey says:
April 2nd, 2019 at 4:25 pm

My family lived in White Gables in the 60s-70s. My favorite home I have ever had. I was a teenager at the time. I loved the beautiful floor to ceiling mirror in the upstairs landing. My bedroom was the front right side of the house. Loved the old footed tub in my bathroom and the fireplace. The gardens were phenomenal.

Steven Lang says:
April 6th, 2017 at 9:09 pm

My wife and I are the new owners of White Gables any more information on the property would be very much appreciated.


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