About Gaston Livery Stable
Built in 1893, the Gaston Livery Stable is a former full-service livery stable located in Aiken, SC. It is significant for its role in the city’s turn-of-the-century transportation industry and as a notable example of brick, U-shaped barn design and construction. It is, also, important to equine and agricultural history. The barn retains an overall high degree of historic integrity.
Originally constructed during the ownership of Jonathan Steadman, the stable was identified with the family of D.W. Gaston, Sr., who acquired the property in 1909. He operated the livery with his son, D.W. Gaston, Jr., until 1932. The business provided important services for year-round Aiken residents and members of the Winter Colony.
Services were based out of the two-and-a-half story, 10,000 square foot, all brick, U-shaped (1 of only 5 in the USA) livery stable. The design is Eclectic Victorian with a symmetrical floorplan and a one-story Porte-cochere (as seen from Richland Avenue East).
A significant interior feature is the original, operational carriage lift. It is symbolic of Victorian ingenuity and simple mechanics. Its function was and is to move carriages and equipment from ground level to the second floor. It is the ONLY operational lift in the USA that we know of.
On October 22, 2012, the Gaston Livery Stable was designated as an historical landmark in Aiken. We were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2020. We received a State Historical Marker in 2021.
The Friends of the Gaston Livery Stable, established in 2011, is a 501(c)3. The goals were to purchase the property and to protect and restore the Barn. We have restored the main roof and are in the process of replacing the porte-cochere rafters and roof.
Since the inception of the project, there have been over 22,500 volunteer hours including the services of four groups of officers from the 442nd Signal Battalion Leadership Course at Ft. Gordon. Generous cash donations from the entire community, donations of goods and services from local businesses and fundraising events have been instrumental in saving and restoring the Barn.
Plans for the use of the property are as a living history venue, event rental space and an educational facility.