Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Winter Retreat......

Hello on this Wednesday evening.  We were up early and pulled out of Huntington Beach State Park at 8 a.m. this morning.  We stopped in Murrells Inlet for breakfast.  After an uneventful drive, we were backing Pod into its Pod-port about 1 p.m. this afternoon.

Today we want to finish telling you about Atalaya.  The winter home of Archer and Anna Huntington.  It was the Huntingtons who bought the original acreage to build their "Watchtower", and who later donated the property to the state of South Carolina with carefully thought-out requirements for its use.  

We returned Tuesday morning after breakfast for our tour.  Now the home is actually a ruin.  Hurricane Huge redecorated the residence in 1989.  Flood levels were as high as 5 feet, basically gutting the residence leaving little more than the shell of the building intact.  It is still a very interesting place to tour and read about.

One of the first things Rob saw was a sign telling about the Huntington's being very early RV'ers.

The home is build in the Moorish style.  With a high brick wall, inner courtyards, and living quarters for both the Huntingtons and their staff.   The home had NO guest bed rooms.  In the 11 winters they spent here, the Huntingtons never had an overnight guest.  While there were both heavily into the social scene back home in Connecticut and New York, they insisted their time here would be spent in work and quite enjoyment of their home.  They would have friends over for an afternoon tea from time to time.

Anna Huntington was a world renowned sculptor.  The iron bars on the windows (both outside and inside windows) were her design.


Anna only liked to sculpt animals, not people.  She also would only use live subjects.  So the bars were for the protection of the people who worked the home and the Huntingtons themselves.  

The home was built during the Great Depression.  Archer insisted on using only local labor.  In the case of a trade or craft not available locally, he brought tradesmen down from New York to teach the local workforce the skills needed.  The home, gardens, and zoo employed an average of 100 people annually.  Today Brookgreen Gardens remains in operation.  It houses not only a zoo, but showcases the work of not only Anna but many other sculptors.

Archer went on to build the first paved highway in Georgetown County, SC, medical clinics, museums, and many other public facilities.  While here in the winter, Archer also looked after his many business interests back home.  It's interesting to note, there were no telephones to the outside world on the property.  There was an elaborate phone system in the house though.


The home was heated using either coal or wood burning stoves or fireplaces.  It did have indoor plumbing.  An artesian well fed an underground 30,000 gallon cistern.  This cistern was used to let sand settle out of the water.  The water was then pumped into a 3,000 gallon cypress tank in the central watchtower.  This allowed gravity to supply water pressure throughout the complex.

Some of you may already know "Atalaya" is Spanish for "watchtower".  Archer wanted a watchtower on the property, so it was utilized to hold water, not guard for pirates.

In touring the servants quarters and working areas of the house, it was noted the most comfortable room in the house was the servants living room.  

The Huntington's part of the house consisted of a Sun Room, Master Bedroom, dressing rooms for both Anna and Archer, an office for Archer, library, office for Archer's secretary, small dining area, and a huge studio for Anna.  The studio was divided into two parts.  An open air studio, and indoor studio with a massive skylight.

Here are just a few more pictures from around Atalaya.....

One of the interesting details Rob noticed on the tour was the mortar joints of the brickwork.  

The joints on the inside brickwork were finished in the normal manner.  For the outside walls the joints were left "proud" and not finished.

This gives a really interesting texture to the walls.

Thanks for checking by today.  We really enjoyed our tour of Atalaya, and hope you did too!  We will be busy getting ready for our F.R.O.G. rally, and all sorts of other stuff around here over the next week or so.

Until next time, stay safe out there......-R,T, and back home with J!

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