Originally created 02/05/06

Marker will affirm Hitchcock Woods' status



A historical marker to be placed at the entrance of Hitchcock Woods will be unveiled at 3 p.m. today at the Aiken County Historical Museum.

The cast-aluminum marker, which has raised black lettering on two sides, will be installed in the coming days near the entrance to the woods at South Boundary Avenue and Laurens Street, said Allen Riddick, the president of the Aiken County Historical Society, which sponsored the marker.

The Hitchcock Woods sign is the 31st historical marker to be authorized and erected in Aiken County. Approved by the South Carolina Historical Marker Program of the state Department of Archives and History, the marker commemorates the efforts of Celestine Eustis, Thomas Hitchcock and William C. Whitney to consolidate and preserve the woods.

Ms. Eustis' land purchase is recorded in the office of the Register of Mesne Conveyances: "Her first purchase was on April 28, 1881, from a Mr. John Barton. One hundred and twenty six acres were purchased and six hundred dollars was paid for this."

Mr. Hitchcock and Mr. Whitney bought the rest of the 8,000-acre wooded tract, which stretches from Aiken to Warrenville.

Mr. Hitchcock and his daughter, Helen Clark, established the Hitchcock Foundation in 1939. Ultimately, 1,191 acres of the woods were bequeathed to the Foundation, which has added to its holdings over time.

Today, the Foundation owns and manages about 2,100 acres, said Dr. Harry Shealy, the president of the Foundation, who will speak at the dedication ceremony. Dr. Shealy said it's Hitchcock's link to Aiken's history that makes it important to residents.

"Knowing the open space is there for use is important to people," he said.

Reach J.C. Lexow at (803) 648-1395, ext. 106 or jc.lexow@augustachronicle.com.

If you go

The unveiling of a historical marker to be placed at the entrance to Hitchcock Woods will take place at 3 p.m. today at the Aiken County Historical Museum, 433 Newberry St. S.W. For more information, call 642-2015.