|Fighting Stallions at Entrance to the Gardens|
Message from Carrie Fancett Pagels, CQ Administrator: Please join me in welcoming Elva Cobb Martin, our newest member of Colonial American Christian Writers and a brand new Colonial Quills contributor! Her bio follows at this end of this, her debut post with CQ!
Article by Elva Cobb Martin
I love visiting and researching Low Country gardens, especially gardens with a history that might become an interesting novel setting. Such a garden is Brookgreen Gardens located just past Murrell’s Inlet, South Carolina.
In 1931 sculptress Anna Hyatt Huntington co-founded Brookgreen Gardens with her husband Archer Milton Huntington. Then they began to fill it with her large animal sculptures and all sorts of exotic plants, live animals, and even poetry.
Anna has been described as tall, stately, aristocratic, and friendly by people who knew her. She was also talented, benevolent, and beloved by her husband. And she was rich.
In 1923 she married Archer Huntington, heir to a railroad fortune. Mr. Huntington had already founded a number of museums and two wildlife refuges, one in the Adirondacks in New York consisting of thirteen thousand acres and another at Newport News, Virginia, devoted to the study of the sea.
Since he married a talented sculptress who specialized in spirited animal pieces—some as tall as fifteen feet, it is no wonder Huntington began to dream of a new type of garden to display his wife’s sculptures combined with an animal refuge.
A few years later while returning on a yacht to New York from a vacation in the Caribbean, the Huntingtons came into the coastal waters of South Carolina. They were inspired by the overwhelming natural beauty of the Waccamaw Neck region. Their first thought was of a winter home and a milder climate for Anna who suffered from tuberculosis.
|Old Gate and Sculpture|
The venture began when they purchased four adjoining former rice plantations, Brookgreen, The Oaks, Springfield, and Laurel Hill. The only way to reach the properties was by water or by an old sand road, which at times became totally impassable.
However, the Huntingtons were visionaries and planners and they had money to back their vision and time to plan. They decided their desire included a lot more than a winter home. And whatever they did, they wanted to safeguard the beauty of the area and its history and make it accessible to others. In Archer’s own words describing their plan to make a special garden museum and wildlife refuge, he told friends it would be “a quiet joining of hands between science and art.”
|Historic Rice Trunk|
They decided to build the winter home on the ocean side of the property. The castle, as it became known, was named Atalaya, which means “watchtower” in Spanish, and it is reminiscent of the Moorish castles Anna and Archer had seen on their Granada excursions.
|Entrance to Atalaya|
|Inner Court Yard of castle|
A forty-foot tower bisects the inner court. It is called the “Marrakesh Tower” because it is said to resemble a tower in Marrakesh, Morocco.
There’s quite a bit more about Brookgreen Gardens, Atalayla and the Huntingtons I would like to share but will write it up in a later blog.
Thanks for stopping by!
Bio: Elva Cobb Martin is a freelance writer and president of the Upstate SC American Christian Writers' Chapter. Her research for this article was collected for an inspirational novel she has just completed set in the Colonial/Pirate era of Charleston. She has been published in The State Magazine, Decision, and Charisma. She blogs on the Golden Age of Piracy and other topics at http://carolinaromancewithelvamartin.blogspot.com Elva lives in Anderson, South Carolina with her family. She can be reached through her web site www.elvamartin.com.
Welcome, Elva! What a delightful post, and no doubt a wonderful place to explore. You had me at fighting stallions sculptures and the Carolinas! How wonderful it must have been to be so talented, wealthy, and well traveled in that age. Its a thrill to see how husband and wife's visions complemented one another.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Kathleen! Atalaya Castle is absolutely fantastic. I hope to include a layout in my next blog showing Anna's studio and all the guest and servant quarters. Would you believe in addition to horse stables and dog kennels there are BEAR pens? Anna liked to use live animals as models. Blessings, Elva Cobb MartinDelete
Welcome to CQ, Elva!!! May God bless you in your writing! We're glad to have you with us.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Carrie! I am so happy to have been asked to be a part of the stellar authors/bloggers in the Colonial Quills family! Hope something rubs off on me. Blessings, Elva MartinDelete
Welcome to Colonial Quills, Elva. The Huntingtons sound like an interesting couple and their home, Atalaya, a fascinating place. No wonder you can picture stories within its walls. I'm looking forward to your next post.ReplyDelete
Thank you Janet. I am so looking forward to getting know you better and the other bloggers on CQ!Delete
Welcome Elva! I'm rather new here myself only because I've been writing a series set in another time period but thrilled to finally get to American/Canadian soil during the war of 1812.ReplyDelete
My favorite photo is the aerial view. I love how it shows me what the big picture is.
How I'd love to visit Spain's ancient royal castle, so I can see why people would love to bring some of that amazing European feel to their gardens. There is SO MUCH I have yet to see along the east coast! thanks for sharing!
Thank you, Debra! Glad to know I'm not the only newbie. And you are right about the Eastern Coast. We live in upstate South Carolina but visit the Low Country regularly and have done so for many years. But I am always running across something historic that I've missed. Hopefully, I'll be including some of these "missed wonderful places and people" in future blogs. Blessings, ElvaDelete
Welcome Elva!! Great post!! Good to have another pirate lover on board! (wink)ReplyDelete
Thank you, dear friend and favorite pirate author! MaryLu, you were one of the first bloggers I started following on Colonial Quills. Yep, I love the swashbuckling side of life! With a decided spiritual impact, that is, that permeates your exciting writing. By all means consider me a mentoree. Looking forward to your next book! Blessings, Elva MartinDelete
Welcome, Elva. Brookgreen Gardens is one of my favorite places to visit. Your pictures are fantastic. There's a small statue of a little girl about 1 year old holding a rabbit, and the name of the statue is "Susan." When my husband of 43 years and I were dating we visited the Gardens and saw the statue and we always look for it when go back. My husband found some thank you notes in the gift shop with a picture of Susan and her rabbit and gave them to me as a surprise birthday present.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Susan, sister Carolinian and new ACFW chapter friend. I've enjoyed your CQ blogs and it was a delight to meet you at our discussion meeting to form the new ACFW chapter for South Carolina Sept. 22! I look forward to seeing you again Oct. 12 at our Anderson "How to Publish Your Own Ebook" workshop with Eddie Jones. Blessings, Elva MartinDelete
Elva, what a lovely post! I've never heard of this incredible garden sanctuary and it sounds absolutely enchanting. Thank you for the photos and the history. I'd love to hear more about Anna since she suffered from TB. So common at the time yet so sad. It's wonderful to have you here at CQ!ReplyDelete
Thank you, Elaine! This is indeed an incredible garden sanctuary and very difficult to see all in one day! Atalaya Castle is across the main highway from the garden entrance. It is located on the ocean and has now become a state park. This winter home of Anna takes a separate visit for sightseers to the Myrtle Beach area! More in my next blog. Blessings, Elva MartinDelete