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    The home of the WXToad
  • Atalaya Plantation, SC

    Archer Huntington, son of transportation magnate Collis P. Huntington, and Anna Hyatt Huntington, noted sculptor, purchased Brookgreen and three adjoining plantations in January of 1930 as a site for a winter home and as a setting for Mrs. Huntington's sculpture. Construction of the house began the following winter. The home was named Atalaya, a Spanish term for watchtower. They traveled south from their home in Connecticut to spend winters here. 1947 was the last year they stayed here. Located at Huntington Beach State Park south of Murrells Inlet, SC, Atalaya was leased to the state by the Brookgreen Trustees in 1960.

     Archer Huntington, a noted authority on Spanish culture, designed the house after the Moorish architecture of the Spanish Mediterranean coast. Today it looks more like a prison, IMHO. atalaya22 
     atalaya02 We're about to enter the carriage yard. Stables were on one side and garage on the other. Also here were pens for live animals that Anna used as models for her sculptures. 
     The one-story brick building is dominated by a square tower that rises nearly 40 feet from a covered walkway that bisects the inner court. It is functional in design, having contained a 3,OOO-gallon cypress water tank. Water drawn from an artesian well was pumped into a 10,000gallon concrete cistern where the sand settled out. From there, it was pumped into the tower tank. The height of this tank gave the water enough pressure to flow through the house.  atalaya21
     atalaya03  Two hundred feet on a side, the house surrounded a large courtyard.
     In the southwest corner Anna had an outdoor studio. Just beyond, through the doorway, was her indoor studio, with massive skylight.  atalaya04
     atalaya05  This was Archer's study. Nearly every room has a fireplace. Everything is brick, presenting a rather stark appearance.
     Originally Anna's bath, this room was converted to a kitchen for the caretaker who lived here after the Huntington's no longer spent the winter here.  atalaya07
     atalaya08 The windows all have ornate grill-work designed by Anna, as well as heavy wooden shutters inside for storm protection. 
     This was the sunroom, on the east side facing the ocean. Anna kept her pet macaw here.  atalaya11
     atalaya14  The breakfast room.
     The entire north wing was dedicated to housing for the large staff. Each room is identical.  atalaya15
     atalaya16  With so many bedrooms and frequent guests, keeping up with the laundry was a full-time job. This is the laundry drying yard, just outside the large laundry. The laundryman's apartment was to the left.
     Another view of the courtyard.  atalaya18
     atalaya19  This is the custom-bult RV that carried the Huntington's and their menagery south from Connecticut each winter.