Monday, March 25, 2013

"Horsehaven" - Thomas Hastings in Aiken, S. C.

   "Horsehaven" was designed by architect Thomas Hastings around 1928 as his winter home.  Although Hastings is remembered for his large projects, such as the New York Public Library, he was interested in and wrote about the problems of designing the small house. This house is believed to express Hastings concept of small house design.  The lot on which "Horsehaven" is situated is approximately fifty feet wide and one hundred and fifty feet long.   The entrance to the residence is not on its street side; It is approached by a pathway through an arch in a high wall and on to an east-facing veranda.   The veranda looks out on an enclosed garden. Access to the garage and stable on the property is by a lane outside the garden wall. The two-story brick and frame house has a gable roof and at least three brick chimneys, a polygonal projection on the left of the facade and a polygonal bay window on the first story adds character to the front. 

Thomas Hastings fitted this modest house and stable into a fifty by one-hundred foot lot in Aiken, thus not only winning a wager from a skeptical friend, but ensuring that his wife could observe the horses from the house, as she could at "Bagatelle".

The little stable building is now a guesthouse. Photographed from the terrace, once the stable-yard.

Click HERE to see at wikimapia. BING. Google Street View.

  About the Civil War, Miss Celestine Eustis of New Orleans began to winter in Aiken, believing it to be healthy for her niece and ward, Louise Eustis.    An avid horsewoman, Louise Eustis came to love Aiken as a place where equestrian activities could be comfortably pursued during the winter months. 

  After Louise Eustis married, she convinced her husband, wealthy society sportsman, Thomas Hitchcock of New York, to continue wintering in Aiken.  Hitchcock also found Aiken ideal for horses and other sports and with Mrs. Hitchcock played a major role in Aiken's transformation from a health resort to a winter pleasure resort.  Along with Miss Eustis, the Hitchcocks encouraged their friends and family to spend the season in Aiken, thus forming the nucleus of healthy, wealthy, northern sports enthusiasts that became known as the Aiken Winter Colony. It was through this connection that  brought the Hastings to Aiken and led them to build "Horsehaven".   


  During the heyday of the Winter Colony, Aiken was known as the "Winter Polo Capital of America."

Miss Celestine Eustis cookbook, Cooking in Old Creole Days, written in 1903.

1 comment:

  1. It's worth noting that Mrs. Thomas (Louise) Hitchcock was very good polo player in her own right and perhaps more importantly she was also considered an outstanding teacher of polo both in Aiken and on Long Island.

    She taught both wives - such as Mrs. John S. Phipps - and children (boys and girls) to play. Her son Tommy was taught by her rather than his father and would become in polo circles as one of the greatest players ever. Sadly his life cut short having died in WWII while testing a plane.

    One female polo player in Aiken at the same time who played against the boys with a lot of respect for her skill was Miss Eleanora "Eleo" Randolph Sears.