|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
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
|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.