Braithwaite Timmerman, LLC

Aiken: A History Lesson on Golf and Horses

Aiken: A History Lesson on Golf and Horses

Aiken, SC, as a history spanning back more than 200 years. The town of Aiken was initially established in 1833 and chartered two years later – in 1835. It was conveniently located near a railroad built by South Carolina Canal and Railroad Company. As a result, Aiken became a popular tourist destination for affluent residents of Charleston, SC, who flocked to Aiken in the summer to avoid the heat, high humidity and diseases associated with the South Carolina coast throughout the 1830s and 1840s. In the years following the Civil War, Aiken gained notoriety as the “Winter Colony. This nickname referred to an influx of wealthy northerners who spent the winter season in the Aiken area. Spending their winters in Aiken meant mild winters, which allowed them to continue their participation and spectating of equestrian sports year-round. A notable Winter Colony visitor was Thomas Hitchcock, who later donated a large tract of land for horsebacking and other outdoor activities, known today as Hitchcock Woods, considered to be one of the United States’ largest urban forests. Many of the buildings located in Aiken’s downtown area were built during the Winter Colony era and still serve local businesses today.

Today, families and individuals are still drawn to Aiken from other parts of the United States for its reasonable home prices and proximity to water, horses and golf courses. Although Aiken offers an active lifestyle suitable for people of all ages, Aiken maintains a reputation as a popular city to retire to, for a variety of reasons, including real estate and relatively low taxes.

Aiken is located approximately 20 miles northeast of Augusta, GA, and is part of the greater Central Savannah River Area (CSRA). It is also the county seat of Aiken County, with which it shares a name. Drawing from its rich history of equestrianism dating to the temporary residents of the Winter Colony, Aiken still maintains a vibrant culture and activities calendar for horse lovers and equine sports enthusiasts. Each year, the Aiken Steeplechase Association hosts fall and spring steeplechase racing events. The Aiken Polo Club was established in 1882, only six years after the sport of polo was introduced in the United States. Today the Aiken Polo Club hosts two polo seasons – in the spring and fall, which attracts players and spectators from across the country. A number of horse stables are located in Aiken, and they offer a variety of services, including horse boarding, horseback riding lessons, trail rides and more. Mentioned previously, Hitchcock Woods boasts 2,100 acres of forest and 70 miles of sandy trails for horseback riders, joggers and dog walkers. It spans more square miles than Central Park in New York City. Aiken residents and visitors also enjoy a number of horse-themed shops downtown. Horses and their riders even have the legal right-of-way on Aiken city streets!

If you prefer a golf club over a horse saddle, Aiken features multiple golf courses, some of which have an equally long-standing history. Like the Aiken Polo Club, the Palmetto Golf Club was established in 1882 to serve the Winter Colony residents. Research suggests that tee Palmetto Golf Club is the second-oldest golf course in the country to have continually operated in the same location. A number of other courses serve the area, including Cedar Creek Golf Club, Sage Valley Golf Club, Woodside Plantation Golf Club, the Reserve at Woodside Plantation, and The Aiken Golf Club. These private courses, along with a number of public courses in the area, let you enjoy the fresh air and hone your golf swing. An added perk of Aiken’s location for golf fans is the city’s proximity to the annual Masters Tournament, regarded by many as the most prestigious tournament on the PGA Tour. The tournament is hosted each April in nearby Augusta, GA.
Call Now ButtonCall Us!