We’re Not in Kansas AnymoreSylvan Shores owner/developer Jack Eades has gone from the Dust Bowl to helping West Ashley grow
July 26, 2017
By Donna Jacobs | Contributing Writer
Following a thread of local history can sometimes take you to Kansas. Jack Eades, the “owner, developer” of Sylvan Shores, was born in Stockton, Kansas a self-proclaimed product of the dust bowl. He studied Botany and Ecology at Fort Hays State University where he met his first wife, Lorraine Long. After graduation he worked briefly in Washington, D.C. before accepting a position at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Vegetable Breeding Lab on Savannah Highway.
This was 1940. It would not be long before Jack ‘s footprint would be solidly in the ground of the Lowcountry. By 1955 he had purchased 60 acres of the former Cherokee plantation located along the Stono River. The early history of this property indicates that William Bull was the first owner of the plantation. Aerial photos of the property also show scars left in the marsh from phosphate mining that occurred after the Civil War. One year later he began developing Sylvan Shores, the name given to the area by Lorraine. Jack built his own home at the end of an avenue of oaks that ran alongside the Oak Lane Trailer Park located on Savannah Highway near Oak Lane Grocery. He spent many nights working by the light of the moon after his day at the lab.
Time spent in the company of Jack Eades is filled with stories, photographs, comic asides, and spirited conversation. As with many early residents of St. Andrew’s Parish, painting the complete picture of their influence takes time and perspective. He worked at the lab for 37 years often solving production problems by going into the shop and designing prototypes for solutions. One such device was a tomato seeder. He is published in the American Society for Horticultural Science for his frost resistance testing. He raised Charolais cattle and show collies. And he developed Sylvan Shores in his spare time.
Raising collies and developing Sylvan Shores was heavily influenced by his wife Lorraine. She developed multiple sclerosis early in their marriage and wanted a collie as a companion. Spotty was their first. Tanmarque was the next one, named for the type of wheat Jack harvested in the summer of 1944 while waiting to be inducted into the Navy. Later they would become active in pedigree breeding and name their kennel Tanmarque. Jack also knew he needed money to help with Lorraine’s care and developing Sylvan Shores gave him this opportunity.
Jack has been ever present over the years as each section came to fruition personally paying for the infrastructure of roads, sewer and utilities. Lorraine and Jack also provided social gatherings for the new neighborhood hosting Pepsi Cola parties for the children and entertaining them with the collies and the cows.
Once during the winter some of the dogs were chasing their pet Guernsey named Genevieve. Lorraine decided that this was not acceptable. She rolled her wheelchair to the door, shooed all the dogs outside and let the cow inside. When Jack returned home the two were relaxing by the fireplace on the chilly winter day.
After Lorraine passed away Jack began courting Susie Parker Fender. First he built a tennis court next to his home, as he knew that Susie enjoyed the sport. Then he cut a new road to his home, now known as Eades Lane, from Mutual Drive. This way it was easier for Susie to come from her home in Sylvan Shores to play tennis. Ultimately the tennis court served its purpose and they wed. As Jack continued to develop the sections of Sylvan Shores, Susie joined him in reviewing house plans and landscaping until she passed away in 2007. Today, six of the seven sections of Sylvan Shores are developed. Jack contemplates his next move as he embraces the spectacular marsh view from his home in Sylvan Shores.
St. Andrew’s Parish memories or other Interesting stories about West Ashley’s history? Contact Donna Jacobs at firstname.lastname@example.org.