Saturday, January 17, 2015

Green Shingles

My husband was looking at Historic Preservation's real estate listings and went on line to see what else was on the market in Aiken, South Carolina.

The Aiken Winter Colony was the winter home to some very well off folks from the north ... a Vanderbilt, an Astor, W. Averell Harriman, and E Grace, president of Bethlehem Steel among others.   Polo and golf were the sports of choice.
Green Shingles, 1928
Among the listings he found "Green Shingles" a place we knew...a wonderful place in Aiken SC. It was owned by the Bishop of Charleston....given to the church thru the charm my husband's cousin, the Rt Rev Msgr. George Lewis Smith (1904-1978),  bestowed on some of the wealthy area matrons. He was the chaplain on the winter cruises the ladies took. The house was his home. He loved brass plates labeling things. Every door had a name plate. He was quite the guy, having been a lawyer in New Jersey who became a priest late in life. He drove a fancy car in Aiken, but when he came north to fund raise he borrowed a clunker.
Always dapper in his white suit, he married us. We visited him at Green Shingles in 1972 when our kids were 4 and 2. Note the brass plate by the door.
photos from real estate listing
Now I never saw the kitchen but I doubt it looked like this.
We had drinks on the veranda.
Then lunch in the dining room...where there was white carpet on the floor and a bell under his place to call a maid. The table was set with finger bowls. You can imagine how I controlled the kids!
The house has really been totally renovated!
Very ritzy. It was on the market for $2.75. New pool addition, old stables.
The Monsignor rode in his youth. The family story is that his fiancee died in a riding accident and he went into the priesthood. He's listed on the application for historic district designation. Along with the area's history Aiken is quite the interesting place.  If you love horses this is the spot. The Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame and Museum is right next door to Green Shingles. All manner of horse related activities abound...polo, trial riding on the 65 miles of trails, flat racing, steeplechase, and hunting. There's golf and tennis, lots of culture and the University of South Carolina at Aiken. I noted a good selection of homes/farms for sale.


  1. He used to let me come to paint pictures of the house. He also asked me to attend 'ladies parties' to make sure they didn't take anything home with them. I had full run of the house. Good memories.

  2. PS - I live in Arlington if you want to contact me!


I love hearing from you. Don't be shy!