Aiken, South Carolina
|Aiken, South Carolina|
The Aiken County Courthouse in August 2007
Location of Aiken, South Carolina
|• Mayor||Tracey Eileen Hoel|
|• Interim City Manager||Roger LeDuc|
|• Total||20.8 sq mi (54.0 km2)|
|• Land||20.7 sq mi (53.6 km2)|
|• Water||0.2 sq mi (0.4 km2)|
|Elevation||515 ft (157 m)|
|• Density||1,427/sq mi (550.8/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||1244853|
Founded in 1835, the city of Aiken was named after William Aiken, the president of the South Carolina Railroad. The town is the county seat of Aiken County, South Carolina, United States, which was formed in 1871 from parts of Orangeburg, Lexington, Edgefield, and Barnwell counties. With Augusta, Georgia, it is one of the two largest cities of the Central Savannah River Area. It is part of the Augusta-Richmond County Metropolitan Statistical Area. Aiken is home to the University of South Carolina at Aiken. The population was 29,494 at the 2010 census. Aiken was recognized with the All-America City Award in 1997 by the National Civic League.
Geography and climate
Aiken is located at  near the center of Aiken County. It is 20 miles (32 km) northeast of Augusta, Georgia, along U.S. Route 1 and 78. Interstate 20 passes 6 miles (10 km) to the north of the city, with access via South Carolina Highway 19 (Exit 18) and US 1 (Exit 22).(33.549397, -81.720689),
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 20.8 square miles (54.0 km2), of which 20.7 square miles (53.6 km2) is land and 0.15 square miles (0.4 km2), or 0.68%, is water.
Aiken has a humid subtropical climate, which is characterized by hot, humid summers and cool, dry winters, but experiences milder temperatures throughout the year than the rest of the state. Precipitation does not vary much between the seasons with mostly rain in the milder months and sometimes snow in the winter months.
|Climate data for Aiken, South Carolina|
|Record high °F (°C)||82
|Average high °F (°C)||55
|Average low °F (°C)||33
|Record low °F (°C)||−4
|Precipitation inches (mm)||4.74
|Source: The Weather Channel|
As of the census of 2010, there were 29,524 people and 12,773 households with a population density was 1,416.3 people per square mile (604.6/km²). There were 14,162 housing units at an average density of 703.1 per square mile (271.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 66.63% White, 27.30% African American, 0.25% Native American, 1.28% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.44% from other races, and 1.09% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.49% of the population.
There were 10,287 households out of which 28.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.9% were married couples living together, 13.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.3% were non-families. 29.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.34 and the average family size was 2.90.
In the city the population was spread out with 23.2% under the age of 18, 9.4% from 18 to 24, 25.5% from 25 to 44, 24.0% from 45 to 64, and 17.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 87.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.0 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $49,100, and the median income for a family was $63,520. Males had a median income of $51,988 versus $28,009 for females. The per capita income for the city was $24,129. About 10.1% of families and 14.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.0% of those under age 18 and 10.5% of those age 65 or over.
Aiken is governed via a mayor-council system. A mayor is elected at-large. The city council consists of six members. All six members are elected from single member districts.
The municipality of Aiken was incorporated on December 19, 1835. The community formed around the terminus of the South Carolina Canal and Railroad Company, a rail line from Charleston to the Savannah River, and was named for William Aiken, the railroad's first president.
Originally it was in the Edgefield District. With population increases, in 1871 Aiken County was organized, made up of parts of neighboring counties. Among its founding commissioners were three African-American legislators: Prince Rivers; Samuel J. Lee, speaker of the state House and the first black man admitted to the South Carolina Bar; and Charles D. Hayne, a free man of color from one of Charleston's elite families.
Aiken was a planned town, and many of the streets in the historic district are named for other cities and counties in South Carolina, including Abbeville, Barnwell, Beaufort, Chesterfield, Colleton, Columbia, Dillon, Edgefield, Edisto, Fairfield, Florence, Greenville, Hampton, Horry, Jasper, Kershaw, Lancaster, Laurens, Marion, Marlboro, McCormick, Newberry, Orangeburg, Pendleton, Pickens, Richland, Sumter, Union, Williamsburg and York.
In the late 19th century, Aiken gained fame as a wintering spot for wealthy people from the Northeast. The Aiken Winter Colony was established by Thomas Hitchcock, Sr. and William C. Whitney. Over the years Aiken became a winter home for many famous and notable people including George H. Bostwick, James B. Eustis, Madeleine Astor, William Kissam Vanderbilt, Eugene Grace, president of Bethlehem Steel, Allan Pinkerton, W. Averell Harriman, and many others.
Savannah River Plant
The selection of a site near Aiken by the United States Atomic Energy Commission to build a plant to produce fuel for thermonuclear weapons was announced on November 30, 1950. Residences and businesses at Ellenton, South Carolina were bought for use for the plant site. Residents were moved to New Ellenton, which was constructed about eight miles north, or to the several neighboring towns.
The site was named the Savannah River Plant (subsequently renamed the Savannah River Site in 1989). The facility contains five production reactors, fuel fabrication facilities, a research laboratory, heavy water production facilities, two fuel reprocessing facilities and tritium recovery facilities.
- Aiken Golf Club
- Aiken Polo Club
- Aiken Preparatory School
- Aiken Tennis Club
- Hopelands Gardens
- Palmetto Golf Club
- St. Mary Help of Christians Catholic Church
- Whitehall mansion
- The Aiken Colored Cemetery, Aiken Mile Track, Aiken Training Track, Aiken Winter Colony Historic District I, Aiken Winter Colony Historic District II, Aiken Winter Colony Historic District III, Chancellor James P. Carroll House, Chinaberry, Coker Spring, Court Tennis Building, Crossways, Dawson-Vanderhorst House, Immanuel School, Joye Cottage, Legare-Morgan House, Phelps House, Pickens House, St. Mary Help of Christians Church, St. Thaddeus Episcopal Church, Charles E. Simons, Jr. Federal Court House, Whitehall, and Willcox's are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
- Silver Bluff High School
- Aiken High School
- South Aiken High School
- Lloyd Kennedy Charter School
- Aiken Middle School
- Kennedy Middle School
- Schofield Middle School
- Aiken Elementary School
- JD Lever Elementary School
- Millbrook Elementary School
- North Aiken Elementary School
- Aiken Christian School
- Mead Hall Episcopal School
- South Aiken Baptist Christian School
- St. Mary Help of Christians Catholic School, a private elementary and middle school
Colleges and universities
The Aiken Steeplechase Association, founded in 1930, hosts the Imperial Cup each March and the Holiday Cup in October, both of which are steeplechase races sanctioned by the National Steeplechase Association. This event shows attendances of more than 30,000 spectators.
Aiken hosts many polo matches at the numerous polo fields located in the city. There are also many other events held in Aiken such as:
- The Lobster Races
- Aiken's Makin'
- Western Carolina State Fair
- Battle of Aiken Reenactment
- The Whiskey Road Race
- Aiken Triple Crown
- Fall Steeplechase
- Bluegrass Festival
- Aiken County Historical Museum- A living museum, also known as "Banksia" after the banksia rose, displays special exhibits of items from residents.
- Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame and Museum- Displays the area's rich thoroughbred history with memorabilia, photography, and trophies.
- Aiken Visitors Center and Train Museum- the railroad depot is located on the second floor and had nine dioramas displaying depicted railroad history.
- Aiken Center for Arts- Hosts educational classes, fine arts gallery, and exhibition opportunities.
- Aiken County Farmers Market- The oldest food market in South Carolina.
- Center for African American History, Art and Culture- Host special events of African American history.
- DuPont Planetarium and RPSEC Observatory- Provides live presentations of stars, constellation, and visible planets.
- Juilliard in Aiken- Live artistic performances, classes, lectures, and workshops.
- Rose Hill Estate- Historic housing for overnight stay, weddings, reunions, meetings, and dinner parties.
- Redcliffe Plantation State Historic Site- Explore the events and lifestyle of enslavement.
- George H. Bostwick (1909–1982), court tennis player, a steeplechase jockey and horse trainer and an eight-goal polo player. "Pete" was the grandson of Jabez A. Bostwick, a wealthy Standard Oil partner.
- William C. Whitney, who helped establish the "Winter Colony", taking the small "Joye Cottage" and building a 69-room winter residence with 15 bathrooms a full-size ballroom and a stable to house 30 horses.
- Thomas Hitchcock and his wife Louise spent a great deal of time at their 3,000-acre (12 km2) estate near Aiken where in 1892 he founded the Palmetto Golf Club. In 1916, Louise Hitchcock founded the Aiken Preparatory School. The Hitchcocks built a steeplechase training center on their property and trained weanlings imported from England. In 1930, Thomas Hitchcock helped found the Aiken Steeplechase Association. Fond of fox hunting, they also established the Aiken Hounds and in 1916 received official recognition from the Masters of Foxhounds Association of North America.
- Tommy Hitchcock, Jr. (1900–1944), son of Thomas and Louise Hitchcock, was born in Aiken. He is considered one of the greatest polo players of all-time. A veteran of the Lafayette Escadrille in World War I, he was killed in the service of his country in World War II.
- Hope Goddard Iselin, wife of Charles Oliver Iselin and the original owner of Hopeland Gardens in Aiken
- Fred L. Lowery, Southern Baptist clergyman, began pastorate at Bethel Baptist Church in Aiken in 1960
- Devereux Milburn, grandson of Charles Steele, a senior partner at J. P. Morgan & Company, a 10 goal polo player and one of what was known as the Big Four in international polo
- F. Ambrose Clark, noted American equestrian and heir to the Singer Sewing Machine Company fortune
- Seymour H. Knox II and his sister Dorothy Knox Goodyear Rogers, heirs to the founder of F. W. Woolworth Company
- William Ziegler, Jr., adopted son of William Ziegler and heir to the Royal Baking Powder fortune
- William Kissam Vanderbilt had a home in Aiken called Elm Court.
- Frederick H. Prince, stockbroker and financier who purchased the William Kissam Vanderbilt cottage Marble House in Newport, Rhode Island
- Martha Schofield, educator
- Anna Camp, actress, best known as Sarah Newlin in the HBO series True Blood
- James Walter "Jimmy" Carter, champion boxer
- Barney Chavous, former American football defensive end/defensive tackle in the NFL. He played his entire thirteen-year career with the Denver Broncos from 1973-1985. Chavous was drafted to the NFL from South Carolina State University in the 2nd round.
- Corey Chavous, former All American football player playing 10 years in the NFL
- Dwight Filley Davis (1879–1945), tennis player and politician who is best remembered as the founder of the Davis Cup international tennis competition, had a home in Aiken.
- Robert C. De Large (1842–1874), born in Aiken, United States congressman from South Carolina in a contested election
- Matilda Evans, first African-American woman licensed to practice medicine in South Carolina
- Eugene Odum, author of Fundamentals of Ecology. In 1951, he founded the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory south of Aiken to study the long-term ecological impacts of the Savannah River Site nuclear facility.
- Michael Dean Perry, former NFL defensive lineman, 6-time pro bowler (89-91, 93-94, 96), NCAA first-team All-American (1987)
- William Refrigerator Perry, former NFL defensive lineman and 3-time NCAA All-American (1982–1984)
- Pat Sawilowsky (b. 1930), past president of the National Ladies Auxiliary of the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America. Her father, Herbert B. Ram, owned and named the Patricia Theater in downtown Aiken after her, and the companion Rosemary Theater in Aiken was named after her sister.
- Grace Taylor, gymnast
- Strom Thurmond (1902–2003), former US senator who owned several residences in Aiken
- Dekoda Watson, athlete, linebacker with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2006 graduate of South Aiken High School
- Paul Wight (Big Show), seven-time world champion in wrestling.
- Paul Williams, former WBO Welterweight Champion
- Troy Williamson, professional football player
- Gamel Woolsey (1895–1968), writer who coined the phrase "pornography of violence" in her memoir of the Spanish Civil War, Death's Other Kingdom (also published under the title Malaga Burning), born in Aiken
- Hastings Wyman, political consultant, journalist, author, born in Aiken in 1939
- Marly Youmans, novelist and poet, born in Aiken
The Southside is the southern area of the city of Aiken, which strongly increased in development after the construction of the Savannah River Site. It now serves as the premiere shopping district in Aiken County, being the location of the Aiken Mall, multiple retail stores, and several restaurants. Two large residential communities, Houndslake Country Club and Woodside Plantation, have multiple golf courses within the communities. Many newcomers take up residence in either Houndslake or Woodside; however, the most prestigious homes are located in historic downtown Aiken.
- "The City of Aiken". Retrieved 25 February 2015.
- About: City of Aiken, South Carolina
- City Managers Office: City of Aiken, South Carolina
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Aiken city, South Carolina". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "Average Weather for Aiken, SC – Temperature and Precipitation". Retrieved Nov 26, 2011.
- Jim Nesbitt, "County, once booming, now shadows town it used to rival", Augusta Chronicle, 16 February 2004
- "Hopelands Gardens". City of Aiken. Retrieved August 16, 2012.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09.
- Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607-1896. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who. 1963.
- http://www.scmovietheatres.com/aiken.htmlHerbert B. Ram, Movie Theater Builder.
- http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/20886Patricia Theater.
- http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/30475Rosemary Theater
- http://www.worldcat.org/title/memories-of-growing-up-and-living-in-aiken-south-carolina/oclc/767519324Riddick, A. (2011). Memories of Growing Up and Living in Aiken, South Carolina, Rocket Publishing: Aiken, SC, p. 305-307
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Aiken.|
- Official website
- Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce
- Visit Aiken!
- Aiken High School
- Savannah River Site History
- Hitchcock Woods, 2,100-acre (850 ha) urban forest
- Houndslake Country Club
- Mead Hall Episcopal School
- City of Aiken Historical Marker