The history of Aiken dates to its incorporation on December 19, 1835. It was named for William Aiken, a banker in Charleston.
In the late 1800s, Aiken gained fame as a wintering spot for wealthy folk from the Northeast. Over the years Aiken has hosted many famous and notable people.
In the spring of 1931, the nation's attention was riveted on Aiken when Nicholas Longworth, Republican Speaker of the House, came down unexpectedly with pneumonia and died there on April 9, 1931. He had been visiting family friends - all long-time Republicans and fellow poker players - who had a winter home in town. Longworth was married to US President Theodore Roosevelt's daughter, Alice Roosevelt Longworth, who rushed to his side from Cincinnati, Ohio, arriving prior to his death.
1950 - Announcement of Savannah River Plant
The selection of a site near Aiken by the US Atomic Energy Commission to build a plant to produce fuel for thermonuclear weapons was announced on November 30, 1950. The site was named the Savannah River Plant (subsequently renamed Savannah River Site (SRS) in 1989). The facility contained 5 production reactors, fuel fabrication facilities, a research laboratory, heavy water production facilities, two fuel reprocessing facilities and tritium recovery facilities.