Posted by Mark Woodard
The history of Summerville contains interesting facts as well as interesting people. If you've been downtown, you've probably seen the name Saul Alexander, set in tile in front of one of the stores. If you look up, you'll see the name Saul Alexander spelled out in colored glass. Well, who was Saul Alexander, you ask?
Saul Alexander was born in
In 1914 Saul Alexander, took the opportunity and opened his own
store. The store was located where today we see the
name Saul Alexander. It was called,
Saul Alexander Dry Goods Store. In 1917,
Saul hired Miss Sarah E. Chinners. While Summerville
knew Saul Alexander by sight, there were few who knew him intimately for
he was a modest man, and unassuming citizen and shy to the point of
avoiding anything which might appear ostentatious.
Along the way, this Russian immigrant built a reputation as a man
of unquestionable integrity and remarkable generosity.
Alex Karesh, a
On Wednesday December 10, 1952, Saul Alexander unexpectedly passed away. He had lived in Summerville 43 years. Everyone knew and respected him. The Summerville businesses even closed their doors for one day, in honor of Saul Alexander. Few around him were prepared however, for the stunning generosity revealed in his will, at his death. Headlines across the state read, “Saul Alexander leaves thousands”. Over the years Saul Alexander had been saving his money! At the time of his death, he had close to a million dollars. To Miss Chinners, who still worked for him in 1952, in his will he gave her $250 a month, for the rest of her life and he also gave her the store. To Mrs. Etta Buzard, the boardinghouse he had been staying in for many years, $175 a month for life. Two playgrounds were built in Summerville. In his will, Alexander returned to the people most of the wealth he accumulated through the American free enterprise system. The remainder of his wealth, slightly over $500,000 was put into trust, as the “Saul Alexander Foundation” with the stipulation that annual income from the trust be distributed to religious educational and charitable organizations. Summerville receives 15% of the income annually. Organizations like Timrod library and sculptures in the South, just to name a couple, benefit each year.
The funeral for Saul Alexander was held at Parks funeral home in
Summerville. He was buried at the Jewish cemetery,
right next to
Mark D. Woodard