Editor's note: This is one in a series of articles about Historic Aiken Foundation award winners.
Nestled between Rye Patch and the Fermata Club and kept hidden from Whiskey Road by tall, longleaf pines is a white house steeped in Aiken history.
Berrie Patch was built in the 1920s and originally served as the private residence of the headmaster of the Fermata School for Girls (now the Fermata Club), founded for the education of the children of Winter Colony residents by Marie Eustis Hofmann. It also served as the infirmary.
A wall essentially divided the house in two, with the headmaster's residence on one side and the infirmary on the other, according to owner Linda Knox McLean.
The wall has since been knocked down to open up the 3,000-square-foot house and, along with a good paint job, the interior molding has been updated. She inherited several pieces of furniture from her grandparents, who owned and lived in the historic Winter Colony home, The Balcony.
But, it's the exterior renovation that garnered McLean the Wilds-Lipe Treasured Home Award from The Historic Aiken Foundation last month. She moved into the house last August following the passing of her mother.
“It's been really fun to give it a facelift,” McLean said. “I was very flattered (by the award) because it wasn't a huge renovation. It was more of a restoration.”
McLean's parents bought the house from Dorothy Knox Goodyear Rogers in the 1950s and used it as their winter home.
Incidentally, Rogers and her husband Edmund Rogers also owned Rye Patch, once a private residence. They added a wing to the house, the out buildings and the carriage house. Upon Rogers' death in 1980, her children donated the house and 10 acres to the City of Aiken.
Between two towering pines to the left of Berrie Patch are remnants of a footpath that connected the home to the Fermata Club.
McLean grew up in Berrie Patch and fell in love with its character, so much so that she refused to have her contractor straighten and level a doorway during some restoration work. The sloped doorway, a result of the downward slope of a bedroom in a corner of the house, is part of the house's charm, she said.
Charming, too, is the sunken garden on the 3.5-acre property, which McLean revitalized. The brick walkways were crumbling into the ground, so McLean put down new pavers and installed new landscaping. She remembers a fountain in the garden from her childhood that was taken out at one point, so one is there again, adding the sound of gently-trickling water to the green oasis.
Berrie Patch sits on the back of the well-maintained property, quite a distance from the fence that borders Whiskey Road. The front yard is quite expansive, leaving plenty of open space for McLean's foxhounds to roam.
“It's so neat to look across that expanse of green,” she said. “It's my own little nest.”