Aiken is a discovery, a treasure, a rare find that fills a special need. Atop pine-scented sand hills in western South Carolina, Aiken has always attracted interest among sportsmen and health-conscious visitors.
In the 1700’s and early 1800’s, Aiken was the destination of choice for Charleston residents who sought to escape the humid heat of the coast in the summer. For many decades this tiny village was the refuge for wealthy residents of Charleston.
When Charleston merchants built the world’s first commercial railroad, our town was a regular stop on that line. This commercial boost led to the town’s incorporation in the 1830’s.
In the late 1800’s, Aiken status as a health destination increased. Grand hotels and country inns were built to house the many guests who came to recuperate from respitory diseases. Doctors across the nation ‘prescribed’ Aiken for its clean piney air and gentle climate.
From this interest in health grew a Winter Colony of America’s finest families whose interest in Aiken grew broader and deeper into the 20th Century. By the Roaring ‘20’s, anyone wanting to ‘be someone’ in America found a way to stay the winter in Aiken. Fox hunting, shooting, carriage driving, thoroughbred racing, polo and golf became mainstays of the Winter Season.
From this Winter Colony grew a rich heritage of fine homes, equestrian estates, and sporting clubs, including golf, polo, hunting, court tennis, lawn tennis, and more. The passions that grew for this charming town have been passed down for generations.
Today, Aiken thrives with a successful branch of the University of South Carolina, a technical college, a smart downtown for shopping and dining, and a sophisticated cultural and arts scene. Golf has become lavish in its offerings, and there are at least 30 polo fields in the area. Aiken continues to offer sport, health, and entertainment for the discriminating resident and visitor.