March 10 remains a triple-decker day every year for Huntington Beach State Park and Brookgreen Gardens. The cross-street neighbors on U.S. 17 between Murrells Inlet and Litchfield Beach mark the mutual birthdays and wedding anniversary of the couple who in 1931-33 built their winter home at the park and established the gardens.
The lives of Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington are always celebrated with a 3-in-1 day in the home, Atalaya, which like Brookgreen, carries a National Historic Landmark designation.
The Friends of Huntington Beach State Park group will remember the artists and philanthropists with “A Grand Tea Party,” 1-4 p.m. Monday at Atalaya, close to the beach, with an afternoon of history and nature art-themed activities across the home.
Joan Crow of Murrells Inlet, an Atalaya tour docent and one of about 150 members in the Friends group, shared some details about helping coordinate this day. Funds raised go toward projects to improve park amenities.
And he said that one point of time, family members had asked Archer Huntington why all of the homes they lived in looked very similar. They were all built of brick and they were not furnished lavishly, but were utilitarian. Archer Huntington’s comment was that he likes houses that could be cleaned with a hose. If I’m doing a tour, I get that in somewhere, and people laugh, saying, “I never would have thought that of him.”
Sandra Barnes is a member of our group; she will ... have some of her photographs, and she is donating of one of them, which she will frame for a drawing. She just did a slideshow for our group at the park nature center – just awesome, with pictures from around the park, all the animals, and different scenes of Atalaya. Our big highlight will be at 3 p.m., with Lee Brockington from Hobcaw Barony; she will be our featured speaker.
The boardwalk was a big one; that went on for several months. That was a real labor of love between park maintenance staff and people from the Friends who were able to help. ...
We do what we can financially, and we’ll provide volunteer assistance. That’s really our function: We’re there to help the park. Any funds that we get from a fundraiser or from donations ... all go right back into the park projects of some kind. ...
We have regular activities we participate in, such as the “Coastal Birding” program, tours of Atalaya, and the “Alligators” program, and we help staff the visitor center and the nature center, and we do cleanup.
It’s really like a little slice of heaven, sort of a little treasure trove we have down here.