South Carolina Picture Project

Fermata Club — Aiken, South Carolina

SC Picture Project  |  Aiken County  |  Fermata Club

This social club in historic Aiken began as a school for girls in 1919, originally located on the the third floor of the home of Josef Hofmann and his wife, Marie Eustis Hofmann. Josef Hofmann was a world-renowned pianist from Poland known for his renderings of the works of Chopin. After performing for Harry Payne Whitney – son of William C. Whitney – at a private party in the famous Joye Cottage in 1904, he married one of the attendees, Marie Eustis. Together they opened a school for girls in their home for the benefit of their daughter, Josefa, and other girls of Aiken’s Winter Colony, an elite district of the city where wealthy Northerners resided for the winter. The school was called the Fermata School for Girls.

Fermata Club

Larry Gleason of Aiken, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The school’s name is derived from the musical term, fermata, which means “the sustaining of a note, chord, or rest for a duration longer than the indicated time value.” In 1916 socialite Louise Hitchcock, wife of Thomas Hitchcock, established Aiken Preparatory School – now Mead Hall Episcopal School – for the Winter Colony boys. The Hofmanns, who had a daughter, saw the need for a similar school for girls. Though the Hofmanns divorced in the early 1920s, Marie Hofmann continued operating the school. She moved Fermata to a nine-acre property on Whiskey Road called Tall Pines (seen below), the former home of Colonel A.R. Kuser, in 1921. The school remained here for twenty years before closing in 1941. The main building burned shortly after the school closed.

Fermata School Postcard

The Fermata School attracted daughters of the country’s most powerful and affluent families. Barbara Rutherfurd – daughter of Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd, mistress of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt – attended the school in 1927. The Fermata School Corporation took control of the school following Marie Hofmann’s tenure, and the school and property were later purchased by Frederick A.M. Tabor, who operated the school until its 1941 closing. Following the subsequent fire, the property came under the ownership of the Augusta Citizens and Southern Bank. In 1952 sixteen Aiken families leased the property and restored it as a private social club, converting the former gymnasium into the clubhouse.

Fermata Social Club

Larry Gleason of Aiken, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The Fermata Club, which abuts the Palmetto Golf Club, remains an active tennis, swimming, and social club. The club’s latest renovation occurred in 2006 when the original 1930s swimming pool, built for the school, was replaced. The club is a popular venue for celebrations, community fundraisers, and events.

Fermata Club Info

Address: 841 Whiskey Road, Aiken, SC 29801
GPS Coordinates: 33.543918,-81.722712

Fermata Club Map

Take Me There

Fermata Club Info

Address: 841 Whiskey Road, SC 29801
GPS Coordinates: 33.543918,-81.722712

Fermata Club Map

Please Share Your Thoughts!

Did you enjoy this page? Do you have any information we should add? Send us your comments below — we can't wait to hear from you!

One Comment about Fermata Club

Paige Lackland Rabon says:
October 11th, 2014 at 11:03 pm

I enjoyed this interesting account of the Fermata Club history. I look forward to reading more about special places and history of South Carolina in the SC Picture Project.


Join Us on Facebook
Search for Landmarks


Abbeville ACE Basin Aiken Allendale Anderson Awendaw Bamberg Banks Barns & Farms Barnwell Batesburg-Leesville Beaches Beaufort Beech Island Belton Bennettsville Bishopville Blackville Bluffton Bridges Bygone Landmarks Camden Carnegie Libraries Cemeteries Charleston Charleston Navy Base Cheraw Chester Churches Clemson Clinton Clio Colleges Columbia Conway Cordesville Courthouses Darlington Denmark Dillon Donalds Easley Edgefield Edisto Elloree Fairfax Florence Folly Beach Forests and Nature Preserves Fort Mill Fountain Inn Gaffney Garden City Beach Georgetown Glenn Springs Graniteville Greeleyville Greenville Greenwood Greer Hamburg Hampton Hartsville Hemingway Hilton Head Historical Photos Historic Houses Honea Path Hopkins Huger Hunting Island Isle of Palms Jails James Island Johns Island Johnsonville Johnston Kiawah Island Kingstree Lake City Lake Marion Lakes Lancaster Landrum Latta Laurens Lexington Libraries Lighthouses Little River Manning Marion McClellanville McCormick Military Mills Moncks Corner Mountains Mount Carmel Mount Pleasant Mullins Murrells Inlet Myrtle Beach National Register Newberry Ninety Six North Augusta North Charleston North Myrtle Beach Orangeburg Pacolet Parks Pawleys Island Pendleton Pickens Piers Pinopolis Plantations Pomaria Port Royal Post Offices Ravenel Restaurants Ridge Spring Ridgeway Rivers Roadside Oddities Robert Mills Rock Hill Rockville Rosenwald Schools Salters Saluda Savannah River Site SC Artists SC Heroes of the Alamo Schools Seneca Shrimp Boats Society Hill Spartanburg Sports Springs St. George St. Helena Island St. Matthews Stores Sullivan's Island Summerton Summerville Sumter Sunset Synagogues Town Clocks Trains & Depots Trees Trenton Turbeville Ulmer Union Wadmalaw Island Walhalla Walterboro Waterfalls Water Towers West Columbia Westminster Winnsboro Yemassee York