Woodlands Inn History

 The Town of Summerville was originally settled in the early 18th Century as Charlestonians and southern planters discovered that the higher land and pine forests provided respite from the oppressive heat and the malaria that came with summer. The connection between swamps, mosquitoes and malaria having not yet been made, people thought the healthier location had something to do with the pine forests. Most of today's beautiful old homes of Summerville had their origin as summer cottages for the first families of Charleston.

Then, at an 1888 International Congress of Physicians in Paris, it was declared that the climate in Summerville was one of the two healthiest in the world for people with pulmonary disorders. Overnight, this tiny South Carolina village became the renowned retreat for the Northern elite to rest during the winter. This period, with the opening of the great Pine Forest Inn and many smaller guesthouses, is called "The Golden Age."

It was during this period, in 1906, that Robert Parsons, a railroad baron from Pennsylvania, bought one hundred acres of land just outside Summerville and constructed his family's winter home, known today as Woodlands.

The Parsons family sold the property in 1939 Mr. Alain White, a respected botanist and internationally known chess expert. The home served as a hospice for his ailing sister, May. During World War II, Mr. White felt it was his patriotic duty to entertain servicemen with extremely lavish parties on his estate. Upon Mr. White's death, the property was bequeathed to Mrs. Ruth Gadsden, who lived in the house for the rest of her life.

In 1986, the house became the Gadsden Manor Inn, operated under the loving care of Deborah and Antonio Diz. In 1993, the property was sold to Joe Whitmore, of New York and Martha's Vineyard, and underwent 18 months of restoration and reconstruction. Mr. David Eskell-Briggs, a noted furniture and interior designer out of New York, was commissioned for the interior design. His English heritage and travels to India and Jamaica are reflected in the decor.

Woodlands Inn opened in May of 1995 to the public as a luxury inn. Located within the house are nineteen splendid guest accommodations. Most have contemporary residential amenities such as working fireplaces, flat screen TV's, BOSE CD stereos, and lavish baths with steam-heated towel racks, Jacuzzis, and marble showers.

In 2006, Salamander Hospitality purchased the property and has overseen an enhancement project, which includes the addition of a casual dining offering called Pines.

 

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