New and Renew: Mature western Summerville enclave stays up-to-date via pool, park, community events
By JIM PARKER
The Post and Courier
When the Sadlers moved to the Lowcountry, they were looking for a place to raise a family and be close to work.
Randy Sadler was at Charleston Air Force Base when he and his wife purchased a home in Newington Plantation in 1992. “We picked this neighborhood because of the schools,” he says. Their children attended Newington Elementary School, one of two primary schools in the neighborhood. “That was a major plan,” he says.
“Another thing that attracted us to Newington was a lot of Summerville neighborhoods (then) didn’t have sidewalks. The developers put them in.”
Additionally, “I kind of like history,” Sadler says. The original Newington Plantation dates to the 1680s. The site of the plantation house is on a bluff in the center of the neighborhood.
Looking back, the Sadlers seemed to have made the right choice. They have lived in the same house on Plantation Circle for 20 years. Sadler is president of the Newington neighborhood association.
Newington Plantation, where home prices are from the high $100,000s to the low $400,000s, is in the center of a half dozen communities on the north side of Bacons Bridge Road and south of Sawmill Branch a couple of miles from Dorchester Road. Smaller separate enclaves include Marlin Estates, Salisbury and the new Arbor Walk with prices from the $130,000s to $300,000s. Value houses in Crestwood start in the $90,000s.
Consisting of 540 homes, Newington Plantation has evolved from its launch in the 1970s. “It’s a variety of homes,” Sadler says. “You get in some neighborhoods, it’s very much the same. You come in here, there are phases.”
The Newington developer brought in one builder in the 1980s who constructed homes on large lots. The next wave in the 1990s was a series of attractive homes with less square footage on somewhat smaller tracts of land.
Many properties tout mature trees and hidden views. The avenue of oaks from the original plantation house built in the early 18th century is still largely intact along Kenilworth Road, with some of the trees dating back 300 years, Sadler says.
Another addition that’s become a magnet for the community was an afterthought at the time it was built. That’s the neighborhood swimming pool. The developer didn’t include a pool in early plans. But by the 1980s, residents were clamoring for one. They worked out a deal by which the developer paid part of the pool’s construction cost and property owners kicked in $400 to $500 apiece.
Today the pool is home to the Newington Tiger Sharks summer swim league team. “All the kids participate,” he says. In the past few years, the facility has also doubled as the Summerville High School swim team pool.
One of the newest alterations to Newington Plantation was the clearing of space for a city park on land next to the pool and amenities center.
“We basically came to a meeting of the minds,” Sadler says. It started when neighbors attended a city council meeting and the shortage of parks was mentioned. One thing lead to another, and a council member was told about a seven-acre parcel in Newington that would be large enough for a park. Dedicated in 2011, the park includes six acres of the seven-acre parcel (the neighborhood kept an acre around the pool) and has a spur to the nearby Sawmill Branch walking and bike trail.
Even with various changes, Newington has kept its neighborly feel, Sadler says. The location is convenient off Bacons Bridge Road. And the schools, he says, “are good and close by.”
To get to Newington Plantation and surroundings from downtown Charleston, travel west on Interstate 26 to exit 199B, which is Ashley Phosphate Road. Turn left on Ashley Phosphate and continue to Dorchester Road. Make a right on Dorchester and proceed about seven miles to Bacons Bridge Road. Turn right on Bacons Bridge and go two miles to Lee Street. Turn left on Lee and go half-mile. Ahead is King Charles Circle, which edges the expanse of the neighborhood.
NEWINGTON AT A GLANCE:
(Unless otherwise noted, totals include four adjacent subdivisions)
Number of homes: 540 (Newington only)
Square footage: 1,100-5,000
Look & feel: Wooded lots and value-priced homes showcase Newington Plantation, marked by its proximity to Bacons Bridge Road while insulated by an outside circular road. Moderately sized brick- and wood-framed homes predominate, with many traditional houses built in the ’80s and ’90s and a few architectural originals. Swimming pool highlights the amenities and attracts a mix of younger families with retirees and downsizers. Newington boasts two elementary schools. Sawmill Branch provides scenic northern border, while Luden Road connects the neighborhood to Boone Hill Road and Miler Country Club. Neighboring Arbor Walk consists of newer fiber-cement sided houses built in the mid-to-late 2000s.
Homes on market: 25
List prices: $99,400-$417,900
Schools: Newington Elementary, Flowertown Elementary, Gregg Middle, Summerville High
Fun facts: Newington Plantation dates to the 1680s when Daniel Axtell received a 300-acre royal grant, according to an historic marker in the neighborhood; in June 2011, the town of Summerville dedicated “Newington Plantation Park,” which features a well-lit parking lot, pavilion with drinking fountain, paved bike trail and playground for children.
Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or firstname.lastname@example.org.