The history of Aiken dates to its incorporation on December 19, 1835. It was named for William Aiken, the first railroad president. In the late 19th century, Aiken gained fame as a wintering spot for wealthy people from the Northeast. The Aiken Winter Colony was establish by Thomas Hitchcock, Sr. and William C. Whitney. Over the years Aiken became a winter home for many famous and notable people including George H. Bostwick, James B. Eustis, Madeleine Astor, William Kissam Vanderbilt, Eugene Grace president of Bethlehem Steel, Allan Pinkerton, W. Averell Harriman and many others. Many of the streets in central downtown Aiken are named for other cities and counties in South Carolina, including Abbeville, Barnwell, Beaufort, Chesterfield, Colleton, Columbia, Dillon, Edgefield, Edisto, Fairfield, Florence, Greenville, Hampton, Horry, Jasper, Kershaw, Lancaster, Laurens, Marion, Marlboro, McCormick, Newberry, Orangeburg, Pendleton, Pickens, Richland, Sumter, Union, Williamsburg and York. The selection of a site near Aiken by the United States Atomic Energy Commission to build a plant to produce fuel for thermonuclear weapons was announced on November 30, 1950. The site was named the Savannah River Plant (subsequently renamed to the Savannah River Site in 1989). The facility contains 5 production reactors, fuel fabrication facilities, a research laboratory, heavy water production facilities, two fuel reprocessing facilities and tritium recovery facilities. My father helped to build Savannah River Site and we lived in Akin several years. Aiken is also an enthusiastic polo community and stable facility.
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