Answers from Our Experts (1)
The Willcox was established in 1898 by Frederick Sugden Willcox, an Englishman and successful hotelier. At the turn of the century, Aiken was the first Southern town to be known nationally as a “winter colony” because of the larger numbers of visitors who flocked to it to avoid cold Northern winters. Of the many elemental escapes Aiken had during its heyday, The Willcox is the only hotel still standing.
The wood-frame building, with its magnificent white pillars, still reflects both Colonial Revival and Second Empire styles. The original structure remains as the east wing of the hotel complex. The property was connected to an existing two-and-a-half story building at the corner of Colleton Avenue and Newberry Street in 1906, which is the present-day west wing. The three-story central section was added in 1928, and was the last of the additions. Yet even with all the changes, rosewood trim in the lobby, old furnishings in the rooms and other elegant touches somehow conjure a bygone era. The last major renovation occurred in 2002, taking the luxury hotel down to its studs and returning it to its original glory, but with modern comforts.