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Attractions - Fun Parks

Atalaya Castle

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Murrells Inlet, South Carolina 29576



Website: http://www.atalayacastle.com/

One of the attractions south of Myrtle Beach, just below Murrells Inlet in Huntington Beach State Park, is the Moorish-type castle called Atalaya built by Archer Milton Huntington. It's a strange-looking, foreboding place set behind the sand dunes where Huntington's sculptor wife, Anna Hyatt, maintained one of her studios.

Since it was built during the Great Depression, Huntington employed out-of-work locals to build the brick, fire-resistant structure which took over three years in construction.

The name, Atalaya, is Spanish for "a tower overlooking the sea." It's a little known fact that Huntington was considered "one of the finest Spanish scholars in America." Therefore, much of the Atalaya structure has decorative Spanish brickwork. Fancy black wrought iron grillwork covers the windows of the mansion.

In the living quarters can be found 30 rooms with 25 fireplaces. Large rooms accommodated the Huntingtons and smaller rooms for their many servants. "Many of the maids for Mrs. Huntington were from Scotland who came early to prepare Atalaya for their owner's arrival," according to Geneveive Wilcox Chandler.

The studio at Atalaya is located in the south wing and features a huge skylight. Between her studio and the main rooms of the building is an inner courtyard with many royal palm trees. Outside her studio were stables, dog kennels and bear cages. Mrs. Huntington is famous for her animal sculptures which can be seen all over Brookgreen Gardens.

Atalaya is open to the public. In late September each year the annual Atalaya Arts & Crafts Festival is held. Local artists display a wide variety of items including baskets, pottery, paintings and crafts of every sort. Visit Atalaya anytime and enjoy her cultural past and present. 

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