Real Deal Countertops | 818 Central Ave Unit A, Summerville, SC 29483

866-707-1414 843-832-0819 sales1@realdealcountertops.com

Mon - Fri: 8:30AM - 5:00PM Sat: 8:30AM to 1PM

The best countertops make a statement in your home that other features cannot. You've worked hard to incorporate unique designs and flavors throughout your home, so why should your countertops be any different?

At Real Deal Countertops, we aspire to combine the beauty and durability of natural stone with unrivaled, personalized attention to all customers. With the highest quality materials and the most helpful customer service, we give our clients the opportunity to make informed decisions that they feel good about for years. Our story in the countertop fabrication and manufacturing industry began more than 19 years ago, when Rafael Quedevez started out as a sales representative in Massachusetts. Working his way up through the ranks, Rafael soon made his way to South Carolina to open and manage his own companies. In 2013, we created real Deal Countertops. Since that time, we are proud to have served more than 5,000 customers in South Carolina and beyond.

Our leadership team combines more than 40 years of experience in the home remodeling service industry. Always striving to create a better product for our customers, we use the latest in robotics technologies and the sharpest minds in the business to craft countertops of unparalleled quality. Unlike other countertop companies in Savannah, SC, we only source the finest stone slabs in the world.

At Real Deal Countertops, we offer a wide range of styles and materials to choose from, including:

Kitchen Countertop Installation Savannah, SC


 Custom Countertops For Kitchen Remodeling Savannah, SC


 Kitchen Remodeling With Granite Countertops Savannah, SC


 Kitchen Remodeling With Quartz Countertops Savannah, SC


 Kitchen Remodeling With Laminate Countertops Savannah, SC


 Kitchen Remodeling With Marble Countertops Savannah, SC

Pollar White

 Kitchen Remodeling With Quartzite Countertops Savannah, SC


 Kitchen Remodeling With Stone Countertops Savannah, SC


We are committed to ensuring that granite, marble, and other unique, exotic stones are attainable to all who desire them. If you're in search of a trustworthy counter company with a team of knowledgeable, helpful experts, you have come to the right place!

Most Popular Countertops in Savannah, SC

Choosing the best countertops for your kitchen is an important decision, but it doesn't have to be a hard one. One of the best ways to narrow down your search is to find out what kind of countertop material you'd like to use. While it's true that material and style trends change over time, there are several counters that have always been top sellers.

Some of the most popular countertops we sell include:

Marble Countertops in Savannah, SC

There's no way around it - marble adds jaw-dropping beauty to just about any room and is known for its good looks. It is a dense stone that comes in many different hues like greens, browns, pinks, greys, whites, and more. While marble countertops often have otherworldly beauty, they can be susceptible to stains and cracks. Marble is also considered one of the most expensive counters to choose from, though the truth is marble comes in a wide range of qualities and prices.

  • Pros: Stunning beauty, plenty of beautiful choices.
  • Cons: Not always used in kitchens due to chance of staining.
  • Popular Colors: Portinari, Shadow Storm, Super White, Lumen, Calacatta Linconni, Nobulato Honned, Shadow, Grey Imperiale Honed.
Kitchen Countertop Installation Savannah, SC
 Custom Countertops For Kitchen Remodeling Savannah, SC

Granite Countertops in Savannah, SC

When it comes to popularity, granite countertops take the cake. Granite countertops usually contain a blend of quartz, feldspar, mica, and other minerals. Granite can add an edge of elegance and even a country-chic feel to your kitchen, making it a well-rounded stone. Granite is durable and scratch-resistant, though it can require sealing and DIY chip repair.

  • Pros: Luxurious, rich look featuring natural stone that is durable, heat resistant, and scratch-resistant.
  • Cons: Hard material that may require DIY chip repair and sealing.
  • Popular Colors: Blue Jeans, Creama Pearl, Alure, Galaxy White, Luna Pear, Steel Grey, Ubatuba, Oro Brazil.

Quartz Countertops in Savannah, SC

Quartz is a manufactured material that represents one of our favorite four-letter words: easy! If you're looking to add a high-end feel to your kitchen or bathroom, quartz is an excellent material to consider. Like granite, quartz countertops can add a decadent vibe to any room. Unlike granite, you may not have to seal quartz quite as often (if ever).

  • Pros: Quartz countertops come in plenty of colors to choose from and are easy to clean. They are also strong, scratch-resistant, and don't require sealing.
  • Cons: Quartz is not as heat resistant as other materials like granite counters. Sharp corners tend to crack, but that can be remedied with rounded corners.
  • Popular Colors: Noble Grey, Raw Concrete, Frosty Carrina, Shitake, Pebble, Pietra Grey, Sierra Madre, Arctic.
 Kitchen Remodeling With Granite Countertops Savannah, SC
 Kitchen Remodeling With Quartz Countertops Savannah, SC

Silestone Countertops in Savannah, SC

A manufactured material made from quartz crystals, Silestone countertops are equal parts gorgeous and practical. Known for being a durable, non-porous choice, Silestone is resistant to stains, scratches, and even some forms of bacteria. Homeowners who choose Silestone do so because they can get a high-end look without having to worry too much about maintenance. Silestone counters look great in many different homes, from contemporary abodes with modern accents to vintage-looking kitchens.

  • Pros: Silestone countertops are non-porous, meaning germs and bacteria can't lodge themselves inside this material. This makes Silestone counters great for kitchens and bathrooms alike. This material also comes in a wide variety of colors and resists scratches and chips. Overall, Silestone is an excellent choice if you want to make a solid long-term investment without much upkeep.
  • Cons: While Silestone is great if you're looking for a low-maintenance counter option, it can be sensitive to harsh chemicals like bleach and ammonia. Silestone is also not recommended for outdoor use since the resins used to make the material do not do well with UV light.
  • Popular Colors: Daria, Gray Expo, Lagoon, Calacatta Gold, Arctic, Blanco City, Gris Expo, Desert Silver

Quartzite Countertops in Savannah, SC

Not to be confused with quartz countertops, which are manmade, quartzite is a naturally occurring stone that is quarried much in the same way that granite is. If you're a fan of marble counters, quartzite mimics its looks without as much upkeep. Like granite, it is a very durable choice and adds an upscale feeling to almost any room you choose.

  • Pros: Since it doesn't require any special cleaners, quartzite looks great without much maintenance. When it gets dirty, soap and water should be all you need to clean. Quartzite is also a great long-term option since it doesn't wear down quickly at all.
  • Cons: Heat is required to form quartzite. However, you should avoid putting hot pots and pans on your quartzite countertops. Because quartzite comes in many different varieties, some forms of quartzite need to be sealed more often than others.
  • Popular Colors: Maya, Fusion, Locomotion, Callacata, Airy Concrete, Cocada White
 Kitchen Remodeling With Laminate Countertops Savannah, SC

Which Countertop is Right for You?

If you're just beginning your search for new countertops, it can be a little overwhelming trying to whittle down your options. We've got good news - with over 19 years in the industry, our team of experts has learned a thing or two about countertops. When you come to the Real Deal Countertops showroom, one of our goals is to educate you about our products and your countertop options, so you can make an educated purchasing decision.

 Kitchen Remodeling With Marble Countertops Savannah, SC

How Will You Use Your Countertops in Savannah?

The first and perhaps most crucial part of your countertop choice should stem from how you and your family use your countertops. For example, if you have kids, your counters will probably see a lot of activity. Between standard eating times and "in-between" meals that teens are known for, your counters might double as food prep stations. As such, you might need a countertop material that is resistant to most food and beverage stains. If you own a rental property that sees a lot of foot traffic from strangers, you might want to consider an economical material that is also durable.

  • Do you cook a lot?
  • Do you host a lot of parties?
  • How long will you be living in your home?
  • How long will you be living in your home?
Once you figure out exactly how you'll be using your countertops, you can begin to narrow down your choices.
 Kitchen Remodeling With Quartzite Countertops Savannah, SC

How Much Upkeep Is Too Much?

Be realistic and honest with yourself about this question. Before you fall in love with how a countertop material looks, be sure you understand how much upkeep is needed. Some materials require more care, while others don't need much at all.

Keep these points in mind:
  • Materials like quartz only need to be wiped down occasionally.
  • Materials like granite, marble, and limestone will need to be sealed at least once a year.
  • Some materials may be durable but aren't stain resistant.

The bottom line is this: Assess the maintenance demands that come along with the materials you're looking at. Marble countertops in Savannah, SC are elegant, but if you'e unwilling to keep them looking their best, why bother buying the material?

You should be aware that most countertop materials will require some form of upkeep, even if it' minimal. To help keep your counters in pristine condition, consider these care and precaution tips:

  • Many common foods contain acids that will dull or even damage the surface of stone countertops.Use coasters to protect your counters, especially if you'e drinking something with citrus juices or alcohol.
  • Do not place scalding hot pots or pans directly on your countertops.
  • Use mats or trivets to place under hot dishes.
  • If you spill liquid on your countertops, blot the spill with a paper towel ASAP. Wiping the spill will cause it to spread.
  • Use mild soap and plain water to clean up stains.

Which Colors and Materials Match Your Home's Aesthetics?

For many homeowners, this question is almost always top-of-mind. After all, you want to choose colors and materials that fit well with other features in your home. When selecting your countertop materials, try to choose a tone that contrasts with your other amenities, like your cabinets. Don't go for a perfect match. As an example, black granite is a beautiful contrast to white cabinets.

Consider these questions when choosing your countertop materials:
  • Are there one or two colors that you love more than others?
  • Does your choice go well with the color of your kitchen's walls?
  • Do you want to switch up your kitchen's style or keep it the same?
  • Will you be painting your kitchen a different color in the future?
  • Will you be replacing your appliances soon?
 Kitchen Remodeling With Stone Countertops Savannah, SC
Kitchen Countertop Installation Savannah, SC

Real Deal Countertops Pro Tip:

Because your home's accessories and paint job may change with time, your countertops should have a versatile color. That way, you won't have problems matching them with new paint colors or appliances.

 Custom Countertops For Kitchen Remodeling Savannah, SC  Kitchen Remodeling With Granite Countertops Savannah, SC

Countertop Remodeling Done Right

At Real Deal Countertops, our #1 priority is your satisfaction. Unlike some countertop companies in Savannah, we make it a point to exceed our customer's expectations. We strive for excellence with every transaction we complete and pledge to faithfully implement innovative techniques to ensure that our products remain affordable. With the help of Real Deal Countertops, remodeling your kitchen and bath will be painless and easy.

The appearance of a kitchen or bath depends on the right countertop selection, proper fabrication, and expert installation. Are you interested in granite countertops in Savannah, SC? Maybe quartzite is a better choice for your family. Whatever you choose, know that our skilled installers and fabricators will make a template so that all custom pieces fit perfectly in your home.

What Clients Say About Us

Ready to get started? Have questions about our inventory?

We're here to help answer all your questions. Please feel free to give our office a call today at 866-707-1414 Before you know it, you will be ready for your new set of Real Deal Countertops!

Contact Us

Latest News in Savannah, SC

Scout Motors selects South Carolina for first plant; $2B investment, 200k units per year

Scout Motors, the recently formed independent company backed by Volkswagen Group (earlier post, is establishing its first manufacturing plant near Columbia, South Carolina, where it will build electric next-generation trucks and rugged SUVs harkening back to the iconic Scout vehicles produced from 1960 to 1980. The $2-billion investment...

Scout Motors, the recently formed independent company backed by Volkswagen Group (earlier post, is establishing its first manufacturing plant near Columbia, South Carolina, where it will build electric next-generation trucks and rugged SUVs harkening back to the iconic Scout vehicles produced from 1960 to 1980. The $2-billion investment has the potential to create 4,000 or more permanent jobs. At full capacity, more than 200,000 Scout vehicles may be produced annually at the facility.

The site spans approximately 1,600 acres, with the plant itself occupying 1,100 acres. Bordered by I-77 and Blythewood Road, its strategic location is less than 20 miles north of Columbia and near major cities and talent hubs such as Charleston, Charlotte, Greenville, and Atlanta.

Rendering of plant at its location.

This proximity gives Scout access to major highways, ports of Charleston and Savannah, and universities focused on automotive engineering. Groundbreaking is planned for mid-2023 and production is projected to begin by the end of 2026.

Scout’s trucks and rugged SUVs will be built on a newly designed all-electric platform that delivers credible capability and off-road prowess. With internal engineering focused on attributes including ground clearance, approach angles, robust axles, payload capacity, all-electric range, and new digital features, Scout says its products will honor its heritage while injecting fresh ingenuity to create a new era of iconic all-purpose vehicles.

South Carolina has more than 500 automotive-related companies and 75,000 automotive industry employees. The state is No. 1 in the US for export sales of both completed passenger vehicles and tires.

Through an executive order issued in October 2022, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster prioritized building EV infrastructure, preparing the state workforce for advanced manufacturing jobs, and strategically organizing EV planning under a centralized state working group.

Scout Motors is an independent US company, backed by Volkswagen Group, with an experienced Board of Directors, including Dr. Gernot Doellner, Head of Group Strategy at Volkswagen AG, and Peter Bosch, Member of the Bentley Motors Board for Manufacturing. Scout is currently evaluating the potential for outside investment.

Scout Motors is headquartered in Tysons, Virginia. Vehicle production is targeted to begin by the end 2026, with the first retail sales of trucks and SUVs occurring soon thereafter.

JLL, led by Vice Chairman Greg Lubar and Executive Managing Director Matt Jackson, represented Scout in the site selection.

Port Wars: South Carolina Got Crushed By Georgia … Again

Listen to this article now4 min listen00:0003:41Powered byTrinity Audio Two decades ago, the port of Charleston was the fourth-busiest port in the nation – dominating container traffic in the southeast region of the United States.Not anymore …Charleston has been supplanted as the southeast’s regional powe...

Listen to this article now4 min listen00:0003:41Powered byTrinity Audio

Two decades ago, the port of Charleston was the fourth-busiest port in the nation – dominating container traffic in the southeast region of the United States.

Not anymore …

Charleston has been supplanted as the southeast’s regional powerhouse by the port of Savannah, which now does more than twice the business of its erstwhile rival (a gap that is projected to grow in the coming years).

According to the latest data, Charleston moved 2.8 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) last year – an increase of just 1.5 percent from the previous year. Meanwhile, Savannah handled a record 5.9 million TEUs in 2022 – an increase of 5 percent from 2021.

In other words, during a period of peak economic uncertainty Savannah continued to grow faster than Charleston – which recently dredged its harbor to a depth of 52 feet and added a new terminal (albeit one with a serious organized labor issue).



Savannah’s lead is expanding, too. As I noted last spring, the jewel of the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) expects to be able to handle a staggering 9.5 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) by 2025 – which would be more than triple Charleston’s current capacity.

My news outlet has meticulously documented the ongoing bureaucratic mismanagement of this key economic asset for the better part of the past two decades – during which time political appointees at the S.C. Ports Authority (SCPA) have run this competitive advantage completely into the ground.

The collapse picked up momentum several years ago when former South Carolina governor (and current presidential candidate) Nikki Haley shamelessly sold out her home state. Haley’s betrayal cleared the way for Georgia’s recently completed, government-subsidized harbor expansion in Savannah – which it is following up with even more aggressive expansion plans.

Both Savannah and Charleston are facing stiff economic headwinds in 2023 – leading to a collapse in imports at both facilities. Things have gotten so bad Savannah recently announced the closure of its night gate “due to continued decline in volumes and continued reduction of night gate utilization.”

Still, Savannah can weather the coming storm far better than Charleston thanks to its superior supporting infrastructure. It also has room to grow when conditions improve.

(Click to view)

Charleston has no room to grow – and its supporting infrastructure is horrendous. As state senator Tom Davis recently pointed out, Palmetto State politicians keep trying to “shoehorn additional capacity” into Charleston – even though it clearly won’t fit.

Davis has been attempting to route future port expansion to a privately managed terminal in Jasper County, S.C.

Dating back to 2006 (the year Savannah overtook Charleston), this news outlet has called on state government to get out of the port business and allow private sector companies to manage port infrastructure. To be clear: I have no issue with taxpayers owning these assets, I just think they should be run by businesspeople – not a bunch of bickering, incompetent political appointees.

“South Carolina should not be in the port business – and the management and development of these competitive assets should be left exclusively to the private sector,” I wrote in the spring of 2021. “Allowing the private sector to manage the state’s port assets would not only enhance operational efficiency it could potentially free up potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in public money for needed infrastructure enhancements.”

Will Palmetto politicians ever listen?


Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.


Got something you’d like to say in response to one of our articles? Or an issue you’d like to address proactively? We have an open microphone policy here at FITSNews! Submit your letter to the editor (or guest column) via email HERE. Got a tip for a story? CLICK HERE. Got a technical question or a glitch to report? CLICK HERE.




Crystal Lanes Bowling Center League results

(1) Ole Green Constr 9-3(2) Nothing Naughty 8-4(3) The Injured Rese 8-4(4) No Name 7-5(5) Team 2 7-5(6) Clukin Chickens 6-6(7) Wanda’s Boys 2-10(8) Team 8 0-12Men’s high game sc. - Chase Hoffman (238); high game hdcp. - Joe Sorrows (267); high series sc. - Charlie Sims (594); high series hdcp. - Jarrod Revis (707)Women’s high game sc. - Marie Wines (190); high game hdcp. - Kim Dotson (263); high series sc. - Marie Wines (548); high series hdcp. - Cheryl Walker (...

(1) Ole Green Constr 9-3

(2) Nothing Naughty 8-4

(3) The Injured Rese 8-4

(4) No Name 7-5

(5) Team 2 7-5

(6) Clukin Chickens 6-6

(7) Wanda’s Boys 2-10

(8) Team 8 0-12

Men’s high game sc. - Chase Hoffman (238); high game hdcp. - Joe Sorrows (267); high series sc. - Charlie Sims (594); high series hdcp. - Jarrod Revis (707)

Women’s high game sc. - Marie Wines (190); high game hdcp. - Kim Dotson (263); high series sc. - Marie Wines (548); high series hdcp. - Cheryl Walker (742)

Wed Classics - 02/15/23

(1) Livin’ On A Spar 12-4

(2) The Rat Pack 11-5

(3) Spare Pair 10-6

(4) Barry’s Beautie 9-7

(5) 3 Buckets & A Co 8-8

(6) Grumpy Old Men 8-8

(7)Gutters 6-10

(8) Lake Lizards 6-10

(9) Stoned Stone Mas 5-11

(10) Vacant Team 0-16

Men’s high game sc. - Rick Clark (260); high game hdcp. - Rick Clark (288); high series sc. - Mike Sheddan (701); high series hdcp. - Mike Sheddan (764)

Women’s high game sc. - Kristin Poole (235); high game hdcp. - Kristin Poole (273); high series sc. - Kristin Poole (647); high series hdcp. - Kristin Poole (761)

Bryan College - 02/16/23

(1) White Bois 12-3

(2) Holy Rollers 10.5- 4.5

(3) Team 8 10-5

(4) Tigers 9-6

(5) Rezzinators 9-6

(6) Tri Bowlers 6-9

(7) Vacant Team 2-13

(8) Bryan Contenders 1.5-13.5

Men’s high game sc. - Danny Marquez (184); high game hdcp. - Danny Marquez (269); high series sc. - Tj Zinke (275); high series hdcp. - Jamykah Battle (468)

Women’s high game sc. - Savannah Hood (147); high game hdcp. - Savannah Hood (274); high series sc. - Savannah Hood (243); high series hdcp. - Savannah Hood (497)

Vol-bomber - 02/16/23

(1) Unsuccessfull 12-4

(2) Cincy Bengals 11-5

(3) Dominoes 10-6

(4) Roberson Reapers 10-6

(5) Alley Cats 8.5- 7.5

(6) Starting Over 8.5- 7.5

(7) Pain Management 7-9

(8) National Treasur 6-10

(9) 10 Pin Commandme 5-11

(10) Team 8 2-14

Men’s high game sc. - Timothy Rogers (266); high game hdcp. - Timothy Rogers (289); high series sc. - Timothy Rogers (664); high series hdcp. - Timothy Rogers (733)

Women’s high game sc. - Kristin Poole (201); high game hdcp. - Kristin Poole (246); high series sc. - Kristin Poole (546); high series hdcp. - Kristin Poole (681)

Friday Live - 02/17/23

(1) Road Warriors 11-5

(2) Tuckin Fin Pin 11-5

(3) Where’s My Bumpe 10-6

(4) Tin Pin 9-7

(5) The Lazy Pins 9-7

(6) Roller Coasters 8-8

(7) 3 J’s And Chris 7-9

(8) Family Matters 7-9

(9) We Don’t Like It 5-11

(10) Team 2 3-13

Men’s high game sc. - Chris Neal (257); high game hdcp. - Dale Gunderman (275); high series sc. - Chris Neal (728); high series hdcp. - Chris Neal (728)

Women’s high game sc. - Chloe Goodner (199); high game hdcp. - Chloe Goodner (261); high series sc. - Chloe Goodner (559); high series hdcp. - Chloe Goodner (745)

Bumper - 02/18/23

(1) American Bowlers 14-7

(2) Hammer Bros 14-7

(3) The Unicorns 11-10

(4) Usa Eagles 10-11

(5) Team 7 9.5-11.5

(6) Team 8 9-12

(7) Dream Team 9-12

(8) Wild Roller 8.5-12.5

(9) Ice Dragons 6-15

(10) Team 10 0-18

Boys’s high game sc. - Weston Norton (97); high game hdcp. - Weston Norton (218); high series sc. - Weston Norton (184); high series hdcp. - Weston Norton (426)

Girls’s high game sc. - Josie Brown (106); high game hdcp. - Luna Frame (228); high series sc. - Josie Brown (189); high series hdcp. - Luna Frame (417)

Youth - 02/18/23

(1) Team 6 24-4

(2) Strikers 24-4

(3) Chaos 20.5- 7.5

(4) Bowling Bombers 20-8

(5) Crybaby 17-11

(6) Little Rascals 15-13

(7) Misfits 13.5-14.5

(8) Spare Me 10.5-17.5

(9) Queen Of Kings 8-20

(10) Team 10 7.5-20.5

(11) The Bolts 7-21

(12) Team 2 0-28

Boys’s high game sc. - Caden Wilson (122); high game hdcp. - Caden Wilson (206); high series sc. - Caden Wilson (342); high series hdcp. - Caden Wilson (594)

Girls’s high game sc. - Kayden Lingren (128); high game hdcp. - Serenity Tarin (238); high series sc. - Kayden Lingren (323); high series hdcp. - Serenity Tarin (651)

Jr Boys’s high game sc. - Joe Shedden (145); high game hdcp. - Becket Graves (233); high series sc. - Bill Sheddan (368); high series hdcp. - Becket Graves (655)

Jr Girls’s high game sc. - Savannah Mayfield (144); high game hdcp. - Savannah Mayfield (235); high series sc. - Karley Smith (353); high series hdcp. - Savannah Mayfield (611)

From teacher to tour guide: New Savannah business offers special treat

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – A new tour company has come to Savannah and they’re offering something unique — a picnic meal in the park.WSAV NOW spoke with Amber Schmeidler about her “Wicked Walks” tour in the Hostess City and her journey to starting he...

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – A new tour company has come to Savannah and they’re offering something unique — a picnic meal in the park.

WSAV NOW spoke with Amber Schmeidler about her “Wicked Walks” tour in the Hostess City and her journey to starting her business.

“I taught special education for 10 years — science,” she said. Schmeidler explained that she loved teaching very much but the politics combined with the loss of time with her children pushed her to make a change.

In 2015, she started work driving horse carriages in downtown Savannah. She did that job until her family moved away in 2016.

They returned recently, and that’s when Schmeidler started doing ghost tours.

“I fell in love with the walking tours immediately,” she said.

A self-described hopeless romantic who always wants a picnic in the park, Schmeidler said that the idea just came to her.

The plan? Offer people a small guided tour that ends with a picnic in the park — food provided.

“I was like, ‘Let’s do it,'” she said.

With the help of her son as a social media manager, and her trusted tour guides at the ready, she officially started the business.

Schmeidler has dedicated herself to creating a tour that is honest and open about the history of Savannah. Her company offers three options: one on the general history of Savannah, one on the Black history of Savannah and a ghost tour.

“My absolute favorite part of being a tour guide is showing everyone the place that stole my heart when I was a young girl — showing them the amazing beauty and history that the city has to offer,” she said. “I get goosebumps just thinking about it.”

The tours open officially on Monday, Feb. 27. Savannah residents and those living in surrounding areas can receive a $10 discount on their tour whenever they book any tour at any time.

We are Aiken County: Savannah River Site transformed Aiken from resort destination to modern city

Editor’s note: We Are Aiken County is a series of articles that will run through Feb. 26. It celebrates people, places and events that shaped Aiken County.On Sept. 23, 1949, President Harry Truman announced the Soviet Union successfully tested its first nuclear weapon.Truman said he believed the American people – consistent with national security needs – had a right to know about developments in atomic energy.“We have evidence that within recent weeks an atomic explosion ...

Editor’s note: We Are Aiken County is a series of articles that will run through Feb. 26. It celebrates people, places and events that shaped Aiken County.

On Sept. 23, 1949, President Harry Truman announced the Soviet Union successfully tested its first nuclear weapon.

Truman said he believed the American people – consistent with national security needs – had a right to know about developments in atomic energy.

“We have evidence that within recent weeks an atomic explosion occurred in the U.S.S.R.,” Truman said. “Ever since atomic energy was first released by man, the eventual development of this new force by other nations was to be expected. This probability has always been taken into account by us.”

The announcement began a great debate within the military, scientific and government over whether to proceed with further development of nuclear weapons including the hydrogen bomb.

Truman ended the debate on Jan. 31, 1950.

“It is part of my responsibility as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces to see to it that our country is able to defend itself against any possible aggressor,” Truman said. “Accordingly, I have directed the Atomic Energy Commission to continue its work on all forms of atomic weapons, including the so-called hydrogen or superbomb.”

Truman asked for and received a supplemental appropriation of $260 million to develop new plants to produce new weapons.

DuPont, the operator of the first plutonium production plant (the Hanford Site in Washington State), was selected to find a site and build and operate a plant to produce plutonium and tritium.

DuPont evaluated 114 sites and eventually selected an area 15 miles southeast of Aiken in Aiken and Barnwell counties. The company’s recommendation was approved by a review committee in mid-November 1950.

At noon on Nov. 28, 1950, the Atomic Energy Commission made a radio broadcast informing 1,800 families from the communities of Ellenton, Dunbarton, Skinface, Bush, Hawthorne, Leigh, Greenland, Robbins, Hattiesville, Meyers Mill and Donora that they would need to move to make way for the Savannah River Plant.

Soon an area dedicated to growing corn, cotton and peanuts began to transform into the site of five nuclear reactors (C, R, K, L and P Areas), two chemical separation plants (H and F Canyons), a heavy water plant (D Area), a fuel and target producing area and a laboratory (It became the Savannah River National Laboratory in 2004).

The number of construction workers peaked in September 1952 with 38,582 workers. In addition to the facilities, the workers also constructed 60 miles of railroad, 230 miles of new roads (including South Carolina’s first cloverleaf interchange) and power plants.

The site was closed to the public on Dec. 14, 1952 before the reactors went live:

The Savannah River Ecology Laboratory was established in 1961. The Savannah River Archaeological Program was established in 1978.

The plant’s presence forever altered Aiken County. The county’s population grew by more than 50%. According to the 1950 Census, the county’s population was 51,137 people. By the 1960 Census, the population had grown to 81,038 people. And those additional people needed homes, schools, churches and stores to go to and roads to drive on, leading to the development of modern Aiken County.

And impact of the plant extends beyond Earth.

In 1956, Fred Reines and Clyde Cowan confirmed the existence of the neutrino using the flux in P-Reactor.

The plant also produced californium 252 (the element is a strong neutron producer), plutonium 238 for use in deep space missions like the Voyager program, Galileo, Ulysses and Cassini, cobalt 60 for use in radiotherapy and curium which was an earlier source of spacecraft power.

DuPont said it would end its tenure as the manager of the site in 1987. In 1989, Westinghouse took over management. Savannah River Nuclear Solutions took over for Washington Savannah River Company (the Westinghouse company was renamed in the mid-1990s) in 2008.

The Savannah River Site (renamed in 1989) is home to the only tritium production facility in the United States.

Work continues to clean up the nuclear waste generated to produce the plutonium. Several facilities have been built to facilitate cleaning up the waste including the Defense Waste Processing Facility, Salt Waste Processing Facility, a glass waste storage building and nine saltstone disposal units.

Cleanup work is performed by Savannah River Mission Completion.

Management of the national laboratory was split from the main site management contract and the lab is managed by Battelle Savannah River Alliance.

The ecology lab is managed by the University of Georgia.

Plans call for the construction of a plutonium pit production facility on the site. The main building for pit production was constructed to be the home of a Mixed-Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility but that project was terminated in 2016.

Pit production is scheduled to begin in 2036.

Editor’s note: We Are Aiken County is a series of articles that will run through Feb. 26. It celebrates people, places and events that shaped Aiken County.

In March of 1882, riders on horseback gathered to play a game on a large field off a dirt road not far from downtown Aiken.

The objective for the two competing teams was to put a small ball through a goal at either end of the field. The game was called polo, and it’s been going strong in Aiken ever since.

The Winter Colony – the group of wealthy families who visited Aiken each year during the winter season – brought many of their favorite pastimes with them. Polo quickly caught on and has remained popular.

The sport has been played at Whitney Field, the site of Aiken’s first game in 1882, on an annual basis. It’s considered to be the oldest field in the United States that has remained in continuous use. The games have gone on despite world wars, economic downturns and even COVID-19.

“This is where polo really jumped and developed into a sport that became the place of champions,” Elliott Levy, the former director of the Aiken County Historical Museum, once said. “It was right here. It was kind of amazing. Whitney Field was where they played. The real games of polo, the best players, played right here.”

Almost every great American polo player has competed at Whitney Field at some point in their careers. That includes Thomas Hitchcock, Tommy Hitchcock, Devereux Milburn and Harry Payne Whitney from a century or more ago to modern-day players such as Tommy Biddle Jr., Julio Arellano, Adam Snow, Owen Rinehart and Tiger Kneece.

Aiken’s polo history features prominent families such as the Bostwicks, Coreys, Knoxes, Biddles and Kneeces. Tiger Kneece serves as the Aiken Polo Club’s manager and his wife, Susie, is the marketing director. Their daughter, Summer, is a rising star in the sport.

The Aiken Polo Club conducts matches in the spring and fall seasons. Tiger Kneece told the Rotary Club of Aiken that he is trying to increase interest in polo through a grassroots effort.

“We want the people in our community participating in any way they can – whether they come out and watch a game, walk their dog on the polo field, want to take a polo lesson or want to be a sponsor and advertise their business,” Kneece said.

And the game’s not just for men. Participation by females and youth are on the increase. The Aiken Polo Club has won the Girls’ National Interscholastic Championship the past two years.

There’s plenty of polo action on the outskirts of Aiken, too.

The Aiken area experienced a big boom in polo as many people discovered the S.C. Highway 302 corridor in the mid-1990s. Many farms were purchased and polo facilities were built in that area, including New Bridge Polo and Country Club. It has been the site for many high-level matches and tournaments since it was built in 2000.

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