Op-Ed: Siegling Announces Run For Sullivan’s Island Town Council

Elizabeth Siegling

Hello Sullivan’s Island, my name is Elizabeth Siegling. I am running for a seat on town council, and I would like to tell you my story.

Being a sixth generation Charlestonian, I have deep roots here. My family began with John Zacharias Siegling who came to Charleston in 1819, married Maria Regina Schierle, and opened The Siegling Music house. It is the oldest music house in America, and was thriving for 150 years when it finally closed in 1970.

I grew up in Mt. Pleasant from my middle school days at Whitesides, James B. Edwards and Moultrie Middle School before moving on to Wando High School.

After High School I attended the College of Charleston. In 1994 I found my passion for Massage Therapy and studied at the Florida School of Massage in Gainesville, Florida. In 1998 I attended Charleston Cosmetology Institute for Esthetics. I was an adjunct professor at Trident Technical College from 1998 to 2015. I opened my business The Body Garden on Middle Street in 2001. So, how does Sullivan’s Island fit into my history? I live at “Squeeze Inn” on Brooks Street.

Squeeze Inn” has been a part of my family since September 7, 1944 through my grandparents William A Siegling and Marguerite I Siegling, and my Uncle Sunny (W. Allison Siegling Jr.). My dad, Henry Siegling, and Uncle Lanneau had so many amazing times here.

The most beautiful gift my grandparents left us was a book they kept called the “Record of Squeeze Inn.” In it they documented every summer and everything that took place from family visits, to the annual fourth of July celebration at Dr. Siegling’s house on the island, who won or lost the softball game that year, my father proposing to my mother, the birth and accomplishments of every grandchild, the devastation of Hurricane Hugo … right down to how much grass seed and fertilizer was put on the lawn. I will tell you it is amazing to see pictures taped on some pages and to read words written by their own hands and feel the pages that they touched. Anyway, I hope you can see how much this house and Island mean to me.

I feel I have a unique perspective of being a resident and a business owner, for I have had the pleasure of living and working out here for 16 years, and have clients who are generational, those who’ve been here for many years and the new families who have moved here in the past decade. Houses may have changed in size because they have to be up to today’s codes and town ordinances. The places they came from may be outside South Carolina, but they moved here because when they visited Sullivan’s Island they fell in love with the atmosphere, the school, and the closeness of everyone who lives here.

What’s even more remarkable about our island is that all the business owners are present on site and take a hands on approach to their business. They know their Sullivan’s Island customers by name, treat them like family and everyone who walks through the door is a friend. I have come to realize over the years, when I listen to residents old and new, that the narrative is the same but the vocabulary is different.

It is about family, children, and grandchildren. Keeping Sullivan’s Island Sullivan’s Island… knowing we can’t stop progress and go back to when no one knew we existed … but we can strive to improve things to make the island better.

Being a massage therapist and an esthetician, it’s all about the client. I do what is in the best interest of the client and listen to what is bothering them, ask questions to narrow down how, what, when and where the issue started and facilitate the best treatment. I’m always learning from my clients.

If I am elected, I will bring this experience to town council and will listen as well as learn from those who are more knowledgeable than me. As a massage therapy instructor, I loved educating every student, being patient and flexible in explaining a subject or modality so that every student understood before moving forward. I want to understand each resident and find the best way forward to resolving an issue with clarity and understanding in a timely fashion.

It’s been fun telling you about myself but I’d much rather hear from you. It’s important to me that you know I am running so I can work for you. I want to hear your ideas on how to keep Sullivan’s Island special. Each section of the island is just as important as the other. Please reach out to me at any time with your questions, thoughts and ideas as they are welcome (thebodygarden@belsouth.net, 843.819.3823). We can do better to get things done and keep our island the best in South Carolina.

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