Huntington Beach State Park is about a twenty minute drive south of Myrtle Beach on the coast of South Carolina. It has 3 miles of beach, campsites, nature trails and wetlands filled with reptiles and birds but what makes it super unique is the castle! Well, “castle.”
Atalaya Castle was built in the 1930s as the winter retreat of the Huntington family and is now a National Historic Landmark. Anna Hyatt Huntington was a renowned sculptor and her husband Archer Huntington was a philanthropist and scholar.
The term “Atalaya” is Spanish for watchtower and Huntington designed the house after the Moorish architecture of the Spanish Mediterranean Coast.
It is a one-story brick building with 30 rooms and two large grassy courtyards. There is a 40-foot tower at the center that contained a 3,000 gallon water tank. The height of the tank gave the water enough pressure to flow through the house.
Mrs. Huntington had two studios for her sculpting, one inside and one outside, and Mr. Huntington’s space included a spacious study and secretary’s office. Mrs. Huntington had a passion for sculpting animals so there were also facilities such as horse stables, a dog kennel and even a bear pen. Yup, you read that right.
The entire house was heated by coal room heaters and wood-burning fireplaces. One of the more prominent features of the building’s exterior is the grillwork on all of the windows to protect against hurricane force winds.
When Mr. Huntington passed away in 1955, most of the furnishing were sent up to their New York City home. Atayla is leased to the state by their trustees.
Most of this information was taken from the map given out at the entrance to Atalaya. Click here to view it for yourself.