In his day, William H. Richardson would walk to the train station to ride to work in Charleston or maybe hop a carriage that pulled up next to his house.
Richardson lived in a two-story Victorian home, built in Summerville 125 years ago. That was 1886, the year of the 7.3-magnitude Charleston earthquake that had its epicenter a few miles away.
The house shows signs of alteration from the quake, according to published accounts. Richardson was a Charleston businessman who would go on to serve as Summerville mayor for 24 years between 1891 and 1932. The street where he lived is named after him, Richardson Avenue.
And what of his house, at 627 W. Richardson Avenue? The 2,718-square-foot residence is for sale for $399,000. “It’s priced to sell,” says Erik Fender, a Realtor with Century 21 Properties Plus and listing agent.
The home is better known as the Doar house, after "Miss Daisy" Doar. The daughter of Mayor Richardson lived there in the mid-20th century after marrying William H. Doar.
Sam Williamson, a North Carolina native, bought the house six years ago. The property had fallen into disrepair, and he has gradually restored the home and grounds. “It’s still the same footprint,” he says.
The original house was quite a bit smaller, he says. For instance, the residence had a rain-catching cistern that’s now located under the present house.
On the first floor is a handful of back rooms including one remade as a bedroom. “I think this was added,” Williamson says, noting that a detached kitchen was there originally.
Fender says this house and others in Summerville were built as summer homes by coastal residents. It allowed them to get away from the heat and mosquitoes, since the village was at a higher elevation that Charleston.
Inside highlights of 627 W. Richardson Ave. include 10 foot ceilings, original heart pine floors and transom windows above doors. Designed before central heat and air, the residence has five fireplaces from the living room to the second floor master bedroom. The modernized kitchen includes stainless steel refrigerator, stove, dishwasher and microwave.
There are three bedrooms and three baths upstairs. The house has two staircases, one of which is a rear flight of stairs that connects to a second floor bedroom.
Outside, the house has .79 acre double lot with large garden. A towering tea olive, one of the largest around, grows near southwest corner of the house. Azaleas, camellias and dogwoods also mark the yard.
There’s a wraparound porch and an upstairs balcony. The undersides of the porch ceilings are painted a light blue, in keeping with the style of a Charleston single house.
One section that requires replacement at some point is the tin roof. According to price estimates, it would be less costly to install a new roof with copper, Williamson said.
Fender sees the house as ideal for “someone who wants an historic home and has a deep appreciation of the home’s (heritage)." Any owner would desire to maintain the house’s “architectural integrity,” he says.
The Doar house is a few blocks north of Main Street in Summerville. To get to the residence, travel west on Main from Interstate 26, exit 199A. Follow Main Street into downtown Summerville. Make a right on West Richardson Avenue, which runs past Summerville Town Hall. Continue for about three blocks. On the left near the Carolina Avenue intersection is 627 W. Richardson Ave.
Agent: Erik Fender
Office: Century 21 Properties Plus Inc.
Philosophy: “My mission is to provide exceptional real estate service for my clients by delivering value beyond expectations and maintaining my focus on finding solutions. I strive to create and implement new ideas and strategies that will benefit my clients, always adhering to the highest ethical standards.”