The house at 127 West Fifth South Street was probably built around 1877. The property was surveyed for Mr. B. S. Rhett of Charleston in that year. At the time this house was built, the only building nearby was the “Paradise Hotel” across the street. From Rhett the property went to Hasell and then to a Mr. Heyward, who in 1895 sold to Mr. Ben Check for $4000. The house must have been rented for some years by Mr. Check with at least two families living there at the end of the 19th century.
The late Mr. and Mrs. William A. Hutchinson were married in 1898 and occupied the house as newlyweds. Mrs. Hutchinson, (Eva Austin), came from New York to Summerville to recover from a bronchial ailment and met William. She used to describe how her husband would ride his horse to the railroad station in the morning to catch the commuter train to Charleston. Once at the station he’d slap his horse, which would turn around and trot home, and then the stable boy would put him up. In the afternoon upon hearing the train whistle, Mrs. Hutchinson said she would take the buggy and go down to the depot to pick up her husband.
Mr. James H. Spann, superintendent for the Summerville school district, purchased the house in 1944 so that female teachers from out of town would have a comfortable, regular place to board. From 1944 until 1953 it was known as the teacherage. Mrs. Jenkins said she enjoyed her years as “mother” to her “girls.” Some of the young teachers who came to board, married local boys and became Summervillians.
In 1954 the late Paul Hyde Bonner, well-known author and international figure, bought the house. Mr. Bonner used to say that he first saw the house while he was a guest at the Squirrel Inn and he was fascinated by the cupola arrangement – in fact the whole house appealed to him. While living in the house Paul Hyde Bonner continued writing. He wrote the book, “The Art of Llewellyn Jones” published by Scribner’s press of New York. In 1954 Paul Bonner had central heating and air conditioning installed in the home. There was a cottage in the yard, but Mr. Bonner did away with that and put up a garage and outside utility building. Entrance from the wide front porch is into a spacious hall foyer. All ceilings are about 13 feet high and there is a chair rail throughout the house. The octagonal room has a ceiling of about 18 feet. The medallion skylight window will open, using a method of rope pulleys, allowing the hot air in the house to escape through this opening into the attic and the cupola room. For this reason, the middle room is called the cool room. The building was put together with wooden pegs and there is also an old well under the rear of the house.
In1964 Mr. and Mrs. Berry bought the house from Paul Bonner. They lived in the house until moving into the Summerville Presbyterian Home, a retirement home. In 2008 they sold the house to the city of Summerville for $700,000. The city of Summerville planned to use the house for special functions of the city. After purchasing the house Summerville Council put $90,000 into the home. The home needed more repairs and more money was needed for upkeep. The new Council claimed it was a money pit and they wanted to sell the house. So in 2013 the house came back up for sale. Counsel had to change the taxing from public land to R1 which it was originally. Over the years since its purchase the real estate bubble burst! The Village of Summerville sold the house for $300,000.