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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 Sullivan's Island, 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 Sullivan's Island, SC

Quartzite

 Custom Countertops For Kitchen Remodeling Sullivan's Island, SC

Caesarstone

 Kitchen Remodeling With Granite Countertops Sullivan's Island, SC

Silestone

 Kitchen Remodeling With Quartz Countertops Sullivan's Island, SC

Marble

 Kitchen Remodeling With Laminate Countertops Sullivan's Island, SC

Sensa

 Kitchen Remodeling With Marble Countertops Sullivan's Island, SC

Pollar White

 Kitchen Remodeling With Quartzite Countertops Sullivan's Island, SC

Vicostone

 Kitchen Remodeling With Stone Countertops Sullivan's Island, SC

Quartz

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 Sullivan's Island, 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 Sullivan's Island, 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 Sullivan's Island, SC
 Custom Countertops For Kitchen Remodeling Sullivan's Island, SC

Granite Countertops in Sullivan's Island, 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 Sullivan's Island, 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 Sullivan's Island, SC
 Kitchen Remodeling With Quartz Countertops Sullivan's Island, SC

Silestone Countertops in Sullivan's Island, 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 Sullivan's Island, 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 Sullivan's Island, 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 Sullivan's Island, SC

How Will You Use Your Countertops in Sullivan's Island?

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 Sullivan's Island, 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 Sullivan's Island, 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 Sullivan's Island, SC
Kitchen Countertop Installation Sullivan's Island, 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 Sullivan's Island, SC  Kitchen Remodeling With Granite Countertops Sullivan's Island, SC

Countertop Remodeling Done Right

At Real Deal Countertops, our #1 priority is your satisfaction. Unlike some countertop companies in Sullivan's Island, 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 Sullivan's Island, 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!

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Latest News in Sullivan's Island, SC

A dream within a dream: Sullivan’s Island offers beach living close to everything, without the bustle of renters.

If you follow Ben Sawyer Boulevard far enough, you’ll end up at the edge of the world.Or at least that’s how it feels when you visit Sullivan’s Island.Named after Captain Florence O’Sullivan, O’Sullivan’s Island was founded in the late 17th century after colonists settled in Charles Town. Ever since, the now “Sullivan’s Island” has drawn buyers far and wide to this seaside sanctuary.A place built by locals for localsSullivan’s Island is a...

If you follow Ben Sawyer Boulevard far enough, you’ll end up at the edge of the world.

Or at least that’s how it feels when you visit Sullivan’s Island.

Named after Captain Florence O’Sullivan, O’Sullivan’s Island was founded in the late 17th century after colonists settled in Charles Town. Ever since, the now “Sullivan’s Island” has drawn buyers far and wide to this seaside sanctuary.

A place built by locals for locals

Sullivan’s Island is an untouched Lowcountry paradise that has managed to escape the rush of the vacation rental industry due to the limited space and stringent regulations instated on the island. Tim Reese, a Realtor with Dunes Properties, has been a long-time Sullivan’s Island resident and has served the area’s real estate market since 2000. He states that Sullivan’s Island is a place for locals. According to Reese, approximately 5% of the properties on the island bear the rental home status. Either full-time or part-time residents own the rest.

While most of the Charleston region has experienced tremendous expansion and development over the past few years due to the sheer amount of population growth, Sullivan’s Island remains one of the few areas untouched by development.

“There are 900 properties on the island. Because there’s no potential growth, we’ve seen a lot of renovation rather than expansion,” explains Reese. “Zoning laws keep the density the same as it always has been.”

Sullivan’s Island dwellers can enjoy a part of the area that’s preserved and hasn’t changed much over the past few decades, which is reflected in the many historical homes that occupy the island. While there is some new construction and renovations, strict building codes and regulations prevent significant changes to Sullivan’s tapestry and prevent the island from losing its local aesthetic.

Steeped in history and scented by the sea

Like the rest of the region, Sullivan’s Island has had its fair share of famous residents and historical events that have forever left their mark on the land.

Reese recalls the Sullivan’s home he’s lived in since 1995. While breaking ground for a pool back in 2000, a shackle was discovered. This shackle harkened back to the sordid days when slave trade was a major industry in the American South. Sullivan’s Island was used as a quarantine station for newly transported enslaved people. At the height of the slave trade era, Sullivan’s Island was the largest slave port in North America.

Now, visitors and residents can sit on the black steel bench that the Toni Morrison Society dedicated as a memorial for the thousands of enslaved people who came through Sullivan’s port and reflect on how this repulsive part of the island’s history has shaped the community we know today and be reminded that we should never stop pursuing progress and equality.

Other remnants of Sullivan’s history include Fort Moultrie, which has served as a strategic defense for the island from the Revolutionary War to the end of WWII, and the Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse, which holds the title of one of the most modern lighthouses in the country.

Another significant chapter in Sullivan’s Island history is Hurricane Hugo, which devastated Charleston in September 1989. The Ben Sawyer bridge broke free of its locks during the storm and ended up with one side in the water and the other side pitching into the air. Thankfully, the bridge was repaired and continues to function to this day.

While Sullivan’s Island has been visited by many celebrities, from some of Charleston’s first settlers to recognizable writers and movie stars, the Island’s most notable former resident is Edgar Allan Poe.

The writer was stationed at Fort Moultrie in the 1820s, and the island had a significant influence on Poe’s work. Sullivan’s Island was a pivotal setting in his story The Gold Bug and was referenced in his story The Balloon Hoax. Today, Poe’s Lowcountry legacy takes the form of Poe Avenue, Goldbug Avenue, Raven Drive and the famous Poe’s Tavern.

Buyers looking to make their home on Sullivan’s Island will not only be enchanted by the stories of the island’s past or wowed by some of the incredible local dives and eateries, but also enjoy a beach community a stone’s throw away from the excitement of Downtown or the convenience of Mt. Pleasant.

“It’s a residential island, not a rental island,” explains Reese. “It’s close to Downtown, has easy beach access and buyers are attracted by the lack of rental homes.” And while historically, Sullivan’s has been a known destination for retirees to hang their hats, young families have been drawn to the island for the good schools in recent years.

High dollar homes

The reputation that Sullivan’s Island has been home to affluent residents has not changed, and even this paradise by the sea has not escaped the tremendous price hike the rest of the region has experienced over the past few years.

Reese recently sold 2629 Bayonne Street, a quintessential oceanside home. This off-market sale went for $9.5 million, a significant increase from the $1.5 million the home last sold for in 1999. This 6-bedroom, 7.5-bathroom not only boasts 6,456 square feet of living space but also features gorgeous views of the ocean and a beautiful backyard with a pergola adorned with lush, creeping vines and an in-ground swimming pool for the homeowners to enjoy. According to Reese, the new homeowners plan on undergoing a complete renovation of the home.

While the hefty price tag may seem shocking to some, to others familiar with Sullivan’s Island, it comes as no surprise.

“In order to purchase on the island, it’s going to cost at least $3 million,” says Reese. “A lot of buyers now pay with cash.”

Business as usual

Even if interest rates come down and pricing eases up, current Sullivan’s Island residents are well-rooted and just like the rest of the region, the lack of available homes proves to be an insurmountable barrier for buyers.

There are currently 17 properties for sale on Sullivan’s Island, and they sport a price tag in the millions.

“Pricing has been strong over the last six years with it steadily increasing, and inventory is way down,” says Reese. “We may see everything slow down, but Sullivan’s will remain a very desirable location for buyers.”

Reese says that he gets multiple calls regularly from eager buyers wondering if there are any available listings on O’Sullivan’s namesake. But for now, lack of inventory and the price keeps this seaside haven just out of reach for some.

Sullivan's Island group urges protection of Maritime Forest

Sullivan's Island For All wants to make sure people know not only the beauty of the Maritime Forest, but also how it protects the community. (WCIV)SULLIVAN'S ISLAND, S.C. (WCIV) — Sullivan's Island For All wants to make sure people know not only the beauty of the Maritime Forest, but also how it protects the community.Karen Byko, the president of Sullivan's Island For All, says the forest is more than just a home for wildlife."The trees here are protecting us, so we need to protect them," she said. "...

Sullivan's Island For All wants to make sure people know not only the beauty of the Maritime Forest, but also how it protects the community. (WCIV)

SULLIVAN'S ISLAND, S.C. (WCIV) — Sullivan's Island For All wants to make sure people know not only the beauty of the Maritime Forest, but also how it protects the community.

Karen Byko, the president of Sullivan's Island For All, says the forest is more than just a home for wildlife.

"The trees here are protecting us, so we need to protect them," she said. "The Maritime Forest provides a vegetative wall between the ocean and the homeowners, so that as storm surge comes in from the ocean, they provide that wall to protect us from that water. It's critically important that we preserve these trees to protect the island from that kind of destructive erosion."

Byko says there are some threats to this forest, such as the illegal cutting of the trees.

"We have people frequently who come out here and cut into public land trust, trees, and vegetation they do not own and they don't have a right to do," she said. "This land is protected for all of us to be able to enjoy."

According to Byko, everyone should care about this issue. She advocates for the protection of these 195 acres.

"We live in a world where we know the effects of climate change are accelerating," Byko said. "We know these types of habitats are increasingly being destroyed and eroded. I just encourage everybody to come out here and know why we are fighting so hard to try to save this."

Byko also mentioned this forest is one of the last of its kind.

"There are very few places we can go to anymore that we can be in a wild space like this and be able to just enjoy it," Byko said. "If you look at maritime forests, you'll find there are very few that are left along the entire East Coast of the United States. This is one of the last few remaining Maritime Forests in the United States that's easily accessible to anybody."

"Anybody in Charleston can get in their car, drive over here, find a parking space, and enjoy the Maritime Forest," she said.

Letters: Private club is wrong for Sullivan’s Island neighborhood

I have lived on Sullivan’s Island since 1997.In a recent article about an exclusive club being proposed for the island, developer Shep Davis said, “The property operated as a private club for close to a century without being open to Island residents.”This is not true.When SCE&G owned the ...

I have lived on Sullivan’s Island since 1997.

In a recent article about an exclusive club being proposed for the island, developer Shep Davis said, “The property operated as a private club for close to a century without being open to Island residents.”

This is not true.

When SCE&G owned the Sand Dunes Club, island residents were allowed to buy passes to use the swimming pool for a very nominal fee.

The Sullivan’s Island Park Foundation held its annual fundraiser at the club. Innumerable residents used it for weddings, graduation parties, family reunions as well as bat and bar mitzvah parties.

The developers are requesting that Town Council change the zoning ordinances to allow for commercial use in a residential neighborhood.

This is a very slippery slope and a path Town Council must not take.

Single-family residential zoning has always been sacred on Sullivan’s Island, and separation between commercial and residential neighborhoods has always been maintained.

This is one of the things that makes our island special.

If an exclusive private club in the middle of a residential neighborhood is allowed on Sullivan’s Island, it could tear an irreparable hole in the fabric of our community.

PAT VOTAVA

Sullivan’s Island

Thanks for the recent, important editorial urging the S.C. Department of Transportation to improve safety conditions on King Street for people with wheels and pedestrians.

Speaking as a downtown resident without a car or bike, however, I am also concerned about the hazards of walking on Charleston’s many broken sidewalks.

I recently was dismayed to watch a young man in a wheelchair struggle to get past the broken sidewalk at 41 George St. near the College of Charleston. (I offered a push, but he declined and likely was embarrassed).

My husband fell a short time ago while trying to walk on the protruding and missing red bricks outside the college.

There are broken sidewalk pieces, and some sidewalks end in the middle of the block.

Is there any reason to allow safety cones to decorate a hole in the sidewalk for months at the corner of Meeting Street and Wragg Square?

Three months ago, I sent a list with photos of broken or unfinished sidewalks to the city authorities.

Two sites were fixed immediately on Calhoun Street in front of Gaillard Center (this was during Spoleto season), but most of the rest remain hazardous.

SHARON FRATEPIETRO

Charleston

Solomon Stevens’ commentary of July 30 said we have to resist the temptation to try to make our schools an extension of the moral or religious orientation of our homes. He wrote schools were never intended to be that and should not be that.

Yale University was founded as a Christian educational institution. In the book, “Sex and God at Yale,” author Nathan Harden chronicles the efforts of a secular president to replace that religious orientation with one based on raw secularism.

Among other things, he brought to the campus a lecturer who produced pornographic movies and claimed to have had sex with scores of women.

Things got so out of hand, the president was fired.

My point is that if Christians are not militant — in a nonviolent way — about what is being taught in schools, people who despise them and their beliefs will rush in to fill that vacuum.

When Thomas Jefferson wrote for “separation of church and state,” he did not write for separation of Christianity and state.

Mr. Stevens wrote our children need to learn how to think critically. That includes weighing and balancing competing arguments.

I agree. They need to balance 400 years of Christian teaching in this country with what has taken place in the non-Christian countries of the world.

Would we be better off today if our forefathers had embraced their religions and philosophies? Of course not.

I believe all public schools should teach the fundamental concepts of Christianity in order to provide the students with a basic understanding of the premise behind the many movements that have sharped our country.

Whether it was abolition, labor, civil rights or other movements, Christian principles have played a profound role.

Only after students understand this can they make intelligent judgments about competing arguments and how to confront complexities of the world around them.

GARY H. KNIGHT

Holly Hill

To submit a letter to the editor, send an email to letters@postandcourier.com or fill out the form on our online portal.

Letters can be a maximum of 250 words and are subject to editing for clarity, tone and libel. They must carry the writer’s name and address for publication and a daytime telephone number for verification.

Get a weekly recap of South Carolina opinion and analysis from The Post and Courier in your inbox on Monday evenings.

Brrrr! 3 Charleston-area polar plunges to attend New Year’s Day

FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCBD) – It’s a popular tradition that many participate in right here along the South Carolina coast – braving the cold ocean temperatures for a quick dip (and we mean quick) to welcome the new year.One of the first polar bear plunges dates back to the early 1900s when the L Street Brownies in Boston took the plunge into the icy cold Dorchester Bay in 1904. The club has been celebrating the new year with a plunge ever since, according to ...

FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCBD) – It’s a popular tradition that many participate in right here along the South Carolina coast – braving the cold ocean temperatures for a quick dip (and we mean quick) to welcome the new year.

One of the first polar bear plunges dates back to the early 1900s when the L Street Brownies in Boston took the plunge into the icy cold Dorchester Bay in 1904. The club has been celebrating the new year with a plunge ever since, according to NationalToday.com.

While many take the dip for fun, some plunge into freezing waters to raise funds for charities. It’s also believed the dips boost the immune system, activate endorphins, and reduce stress.

Dunleavy’s Pub on Sullivan’s Island organizes its polar bear plunge each year in support of Special Olympics of South Carolina. The organization provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in myriad Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

Plungers will gather on the beach for the pub’s 29th annual polar plunge at 2:00 p.m. on New Year’s Day. Dunleavy’s Pub is located at 2213 Middle Street on Sullivans Island.

Over on Seabrook Island, plungers will gather for the town’s polar bear plunge at North Beach near Boardwalk 1 at 10:30 a.m. Attendees can then warm up near a bonfire while sipping on some hot chocolate.

Finally, Folly Beach will host its 10th annual Bill Murray Look-a-like Polar Plunge on the beach New Year’s Day. Hundreds of people attend the Polar Plunge each year, many of whom come dressed as their favorite Bill Murray characters.

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There is a costume contest that starts at 12:30 p.m., and the plunge takes place at 1:30 p.m. beachside at the Tides Hotel.

Ocean temperatures are currently at about 56 degrees in Charleston Harbor. The temperature along the beaches is expected to be around 58 degrees under a mostly sunny sky on Jan. 1

Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse a Last of its Kind: Beacon of the Beach

Every nightfall, a rotating light pulsates around Sullivan’s Island twice every 30 seconds. The luminous source is the Charleston Light, also referred to as the Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse, which has stood watch over the cozy beach town for more than six decades.When the pillar of light was first lit on June 15, 1962, it was recorded as the last major lighthouse in the United States built by the federal government. It was also the second brightest lighthouse in the Western Hemisphere, according to Fort Moultrie National H...

Every nightfall, a rotating light pulsates around Sullivan’s Island twice every 30 seconds. The luminous source is the Charleston Light, also referred to as the Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse, which has stood watch over the cozy beach town for more than six decades.

When the pillar of light was first lit on June 15, 1962, it was recorded as the last major lighthouse in the United States built by the federal government. It was also the second brightest lighthouse in the Western Hemisphere, according to Fort Moultrie National Historical Park guide Shelby McAllister.

The Charleston Light was erected to replace the defunct Morris Island Light, which was rebuilt in the 1870s after being destroyed in the Civil War. The lighthouse was at risk of being destroyed again by erosion and was later decommissioned.

Standing at 162.5 feet tall, approaching vessels in the Charleston Harbor could see the flash of the Charleston Light’s 28-million candlepower beam from more than 50 miles offshore. Five years after its construction, its wattage was reduced to 1.2-million candlepower, but it is still visible more than 25 miles away.

Its bright light wasn’t the only thing that caught people’s eyes. Many residents felt the original red and white color scheme was an eyesore. As the sun bleached the red to orange, it was decided that a paint job was in order. Black and white was the popular choice, so the Charleston Light received a makeover.

Sixty-one years later, the mid-century monolithic structure serves as more of a nautical landmark than a navigational aid, but its maritime history is not lost at sea. It was a fixture of the U.S. Coast Guard Historic District that includes buildings dating back to 1894.

When the Coast Guard automated the lighthouse in 1975, it no longer needed a keeper. In 2008, the Coast Guard relinquished ownership to the National Park Service.

THE MAN BEHIND THE LIGHT

Architect Jack Graham’s creation was not only the last of its kind, but it was also one of a kind. His vision for the lighthouse lit up in his mind when he was a 25-year-old graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Architecture and a serviceman in the Coast Guard.

In Graham’s last month of active duty, a supervisor gave him a final assignment of designing a lighthouse. The Coast Guard was displeased with the previous drawings that made it resemble a World War I battleship signal tower. By the time Graham was finished, it looked like an air traffic control tower.

Unlike typical circular lighthouses, Graham’s design was triangular with steel girders for the framework and aluminum alloy for siding. He credited his modernist approach and design to his college professor Louis Kahn, an influential modern architect in the post-World War II era known for his monumental and brutalist style.

In September 1989, Graham’s work would be put to the test when Hurricane Hugo lashed the island as a Category 5. The lighthouse’s design was intended to withstand winds up to 125 miles per hour. Hugo brought winds of 160 miles per hour, and the lighthouse never faltered.

In 2009, on Graham’s 75th birthday, he was able to view his creation from the top as he rode in the elevator for the first time. He wasn’t aware that his design was used for the lighthouse until three years after it was built, when he was flipping through a boating magazine.

The lighthouse became eligible to be listed on the National Register as part of the structures in the Coast Guard Historic District in 2012. That same year marked the structure’s 50th anniversary, during which Graham was recognized for the first time with an official ceremony and a historical marker on site.

Before Graham’s passing in June 2022, his wife Martha, who lives in Maryland, wrote “The Charleston Light and The Adventures of Scoops the Seagull.” The children’s book is about the lighthouse, which her beloved husband nicknamed “Sulli.”

Graham’s story lives on in the annals of history and is rekindled every time the sun sinks down past the horizon on Sullivan’s Island. That’s when the lighthouse and Graham’s legacy truly come to life.

Today, the lighthouse stands as one of the most technologically advanced for its time. It is the only lighthouse in America that has both an elevator and air conditioning, according to McAllister.

Due to ongoing problems with the elevator, there are no plans to open the lighthouse to the public. Of the 15 historic lighthouses in the state, none are currently open to the public due mainly to structural issues, she noted.

“This is history that is slowly disappearing, but not many people realize that,” McAllister added.

The National Park Service celebrates National Lighthouse Day every August by opening the Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse grounds to the public. The last time the lighthouse was open for tours was 2018.

By Zach Giroux

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