​It is thought that prior to 1897, the property known as Hopelands Gardens was a farm or part of one. Aiken County Courthouse records show a deed recorded March 10, 1897 that conveyed approximately 15 acres to C. Oliver Iselin. The grantors were Frank L. Burckhalter and Elizabeth B. Bates. The purchase price was given as $ 1,650.

Mrs. Iselin's father, Colonel William Goddard, was a Chancellor of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. The family spent winters in Aiken during the late 1800's bringing their daughter, Hope, with them. In fact, the Goodards rented "Rye Patch" which is the estate adjacent to Hopelands Gardens on Whiskey Road.

Mr. Iselin's parents were from New Rochelle, New York. Charles Oliver Islein was the sportsman son of the family. From the late 1800's through the turn of the century, he, with financial support from other members of his family, was closely involved in the design, building, equipping, and sailing of American entries in no less that six of the internationally known "America's Cup" yacht races.

Oliver and Hope Iselin built their winter home in Aiken around the turn of the 20th century. Mrs. Iselin began developing the gardens shortly thereafter. It is believed that Mrs. Iselin planted 
many of the deodar cedars and live oaks that still grace Hopelands Gardens today.

Hopelands Gardens History
Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame and Museum
"Home of Aiken's Racing Champions"
Information: 803-642-7631
[email protected]
Hours of Operation
Tuesday - Friday 2 pm - 5 pm
Saturday 10 am - 5 pm
Sunday 2 pm - 5 pm
Free admission
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