Downtown Aiken Photos – Aiken County, South Carolina
South Carolina | SC Picture Project | Aiken County Photos | Downtown Aiken Photos
SCIWAY’s June Roadtrip took us to Region Three of the South Carolina Heritage Corridor’s Discovery Route, which is aptly nicknamed the “Rivers, Rails, and Crossroads” region. Aiken is the biggest city in this region, and boasts a charming downtown area.
Downtown Aiken is well-planned and thoughtfully landscaped, with flowers, fountains, and clean streets. Unique shops, spas, and restaurants can be found throughout the town, and there are several nice inns and bed and breakfasts to stay in.
Aiken is known for its close association with horses and equestrianism, and the downtown area is dotted with statues of horses like this one. This statue is of Limehouse, a stakes winner who trained at Aiken’s Dogwood Stable and also came in 4th in the 2004 Kentucky Derby. You can see the statue yourself behind a popular Aiken restaurant, the West Side Bowery.
Hopelands Gardens offers visitors 14 acres of shady paths under towering oaks purportedly planted by the former owners, the Iselins. The Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame is located in an old carriage house on the property (seen above). During the summer, weekly concerts are held at the Roland H. Windham Performing Arts Stage, where attendees can bring blankets and sit across a small lake from the stage for the performance. One of the newer features of the garden is an octagonal labyrinth, meant to inspire meditation.
The Aiken County Historical Museum occupies Banksia, the former winter home of New York businessman Richard Howe. Part of the home was built in 1840, and additions were made in the 1930s. The museum, located downtown on Newberry Street, now occupies all 32 rooms of the house and is open to the public for free.
H. Odell Weeks was the mayor of Aiken for 40 years. He retired in 1991, and passed away the next year. The Aiken County Historical Museum now houses this exhibit, a replica of his old office, complete with photographs, official recognitions, and memorabilia from his alma mater, Clemson University. The town’s Activities Center was named in his honor.
This exhibit in the Aiken County Historical Museum shows a replica of Moody’s Drugstore, which was once operated by Henry Moody in adjacent Barnwell County. The sign on the exhibit tells the intriguing story of how a 1950s drugstore was almost entirely resurrected: “In 1952, the town [of Dunbarton] and surrounding area was bought by the federal government to develop the site for the Savannah River Plant . Rather than try to sell the store, Mr. Moody dismantled it, packed up the contents, and stored them in a barn on his farm. The fixtures and the merchandise stayed in the barn for 32 years until in 1984 the collection was donated to the Museum, giving a unique glimpse into life in a small southern town in the 1950s.”