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HISTORY


Earlier names for Myrtle Beach were Long Bay, Withers and New Town. "Myrtle Beach" was chosen in a 1900 naming contest. "Edgewater" came in second place.

Withers Swash Park Fishing Pier

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Corner Icon  Did you know... That there are no other incorporated cities called Myrtle Beach?  There are towns called Myrtle Grove and Myrtle Island, but no other Myrtle Beach!


Corner Icon  Did you know... That the moon-booted cement footprints of Colonel Charles M. Duke, Jr., astronaut and South Carolina native, are displayed on the special events plaza at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center? You’ll find the prints in the pavement near the fountain and flagpoles.  As the plaque explains, he walked on the moon April 20, 1972.


Corner Icon Questions?  E-mail info@cityofmyrtlebeach.com or call (843) 918-1014.  

   

Did You Know???

   
 

Interesting facts about Myrtle Beach


   
 

·      That Kings Highway was an Indian trail long before European settlers arrived in the New World?  As the colonies grew, that Indian trail became the main route between north states and southern cities.  At one time, giant sand dunes came all the way up to where present-day Kings Highway passes.

 

·      That present-day Withers Swash and much of the surrounding area was part of a 66,000-acre King’s Grant to Robert Francis Withers in the early 1700s?  Robert and his wife, Mary, operated an indigo plantation overlooking the swash.  During the great hurricane of 1822, 18 people who sought refuge in the Withers family home near the swash were swept away by the storm surge.

 

·      That the Grand Strand’s earliest innkeeper may have been William Gause, who operated a tavern for travelers along the old King’s Highway in the Windy Hill area beginning around 1740?  One of his overnight guests was George Washington, who toured the coast in 1791 while he was president.  (Information excerpted from Greetings from Myrtle Beach, A History, 1900-1980, by Barbara Stokes,  commissioned by Chapin Memorial Library and the Chapin Foundation.)

 

·      That Myrtle Beach’s first hotel was the Seaside Inn, built in 1901 at a cost of $3,813 for materials and labor?  At first, the hotel had no plumbing or electricity.  In those early days, you could get three meals and an overnight stay for just $2. The Seaside Inn was demolished in the late 1920s.

 

·      That the Myrtle Beach Train Depot, built in 1936 and restored in 2004, is on the National Register of Historic Places?  The city’s restoration of the historic depot won the 2005 Historic Preservation Honor Award from the South Carolina Department of Archives and History. 

 

·      That Harrelson Boulevard is named for Myrtle Beach’s first mayor, W.L. Harrelson, who served from March 1938 to December 1939 and again from January 1942 to December 1943?  The city purchased land for the municipal airport during his first term, and the terminal at the airport was named in his honor.  Today, it’s known as Myrtle Beach International Airport, with its entrance on Harrelson Boulevard.

 

·      That SC 31, also known as the Carolina Bays Parkway, is named in honor of the late John B. Singleton for his vision in promoting construction of the road and his lifetime of contributions to Myrtle Beach?  A well-known local pharmacist, Singleton was active in the community.  He was named Young Man of the Year in 1960, served as the first chairman of the Miss Sun Fun Pageant and active in the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and Hospitality Association.  He was named Citizen of the Year in 1992 for his efforts on behalf of the parkway and his many other commitments.

 

·      That the northern portion of the oceanfront boardwalk, from the 14th Avenue Pier to Plyler Park, is named “Gloria’s Way,” in honor of Gloria Lindsay Sapp, a longtime teacher, hotelier, volunteer, businesswoman and civic leader?  Bronze plaques are installed at either end of this boardwalk section to recognize Gloria, an ardent supporter of the boardwalk project, who died in 2010 at age 84. 

 

·      That the runway at Myrtle Beach International Airport is 9,503 feet long?  That’s nearly 1.8 miles of runway!  MYR is the second-busiest airport in the state, passenger-wise, behind only Charleston.  You can fly direct to 27 destinations from Myrtle Beach International Airport

 

·      That there are 295.79 miles of streets inside the Myrtle Beach city limits?  That’s 1,561,782.40 linear feet, if you’re counting.  

 

·      That there are 13,651 parcels of real estate in the City of Myrtle Beach?  Each lot or parcel is identified with a separate tax map number. 

 

·      That the giant outdoor whale mural at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center is number 49 in a series of 100 Wyland Whaling Walls created by well-known marine artist Wyland?  Myrtle Beach’s whaling wall is 250 feet long and 50 feet high and was dedicated September 6, 1993.  Titled “Right Whales off the South Carolina Coast,” the mural depicts a life-sized pod of right whales.  The mural is on the Convention Center’s western wall.

 

·      That the first road between Conway and Myrtle Beach was completed in 1914?  It ran through Socastee and was made of sand.  Known today as Highway 15 and Broadway Street, the road was paved for the first time with rock and asphalt in 1929. 

 

·      That a time capsule to be opened December 18, 2054, is buried at Nance Plaza on the southwest corner of Kings Highway and Ninth Avenue North?  A granite monument and brass book mark where the capsule was buried in 2004.  Elementary school students throughout Horry County participated in the project, and their hopes and dreams are contained within the capsule.     

 

·      That the South Carolina Press Association held its annual conference in Myrtle Beach in 1922?  Eighty reporters and guests from across the state stayed in the Seaside Inn and just built Myrtle Beach Yacht Club. 

 

·      That Myrtle Beach voters overwhelmingly adopted the Council-Manager form of government on November 3, 1973?  The margin of the vote was four-to-one.  As the legislative body, City Council sets the policy direction and hires a professional city manager, who serves as the chief executive officer and oversees day-to-day operations of the city. 

 

·      That Myrtle Beach was home to the Miss South Carolina Pageant from 1950 to 1958?  Mystery writer Mickey Spillane helped with the production and occasionally served as one of the pageant judges.

 

·      That Futrell Park, off Mr. Joe White Avenue, is named for the late James Futrell, the first African-American to serve on the Myrtle Beach City Council?  Mr. Futrell served on Council from 1982 to 1992.

 

·      That Myrtle Beach has received StormReady certification from the National Weather Service for a third consecutive three-year period?  The city first received the StormReady designation in 2003.  The current certification is good through August 2015.

 

·      That the country music group Alabama played for tips as the house band at The Bowery, just off Ocean Boulevard in downtown Myrtle Beach, beginning in the summer of 1973?  The group left Myrtle Beach for Nashville and a major record label contract in 1980, then opened Alabama Theatre at Barefoot Landing in 1993.  The name “Alabama” came from a sign used as a backdrop on The Bowery’s stage.

 

·      That Hurl Rock Park on Ocean Boulevard at 20th Avenue South was the city’s first oceanfront park?  The city acquired Hurl Rock Park in the 1970s.  The name originally was Hearl Rock, a family name, but subsequently became Hurl Rock because of the cementitious rock formations at that point on the beach.  The formations have been covered by sand for many years. 

 

·      That Myrtle Beach has 650 acres of public parks and recreation property?  That’s slightly more than a square mile, or nearly five percent of the city’s total area.  The land includes Grand Park, Whispering Pines Golf Course, some four dozen other parks and, of course, a conservative estimate of the available public beach.

 

·      That Perrin’s Path, a 1.2 mile stretch of walking and biking trail along Grissom Parkway between 48th and 62nd Avenues North, is named in memory of the late Perrin Lawson, Jr., a longtime resident, architect and public servant?  Perrin’s Path is part of the East Coast Greenway.  Eventually, it will include a sustainable trailhead, rain garden, picnic area and amphitheatre.  Among Perrin Lawson’s architectural legacies are Pepper Geddings Recreation Center, Rainbow Harbor, Loris Middle School and Gulf Stream Villas.  Lawson died in 2001.   

 

·      That both state and city laws make it illegal for a driver to leave the engine running in an unattended vehicle or to leave the key in the ignition when leaving a vehicle unoccupied?  Specifically, the laws read, “No person driving or in charge of a motor vehicle shall permit it to stand unattended without first stopping the engine, locking the ignition (and) removing the key....” 

 

·      That Crabtree Memorial Gymnasium is named for the late Clement Gurley Crabtree, once the recreation director at the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base?

 

·      That the granite Canadian maple leaf monument in front of the Myrtle Beach Convention Center on Oak Street was presented to the people of Canada for their 1980 rescue of six U.S. diplomats in Iran?  The text on the bronze plaque reads, “In grateful appreciation to the people of Canada for their steadfast friendship and especially their courage in rescuing six United States diplomats from sieges in Iran, January 1980, from the people of the Grand Strand of South Carolina.”

 

·      That Spanish explorers sailing north from Hispaniola in the early 1500s were the first “tourists” along the Grand Strand?  Lucas Vazques de Allyon and his group originally landed near the Cape Fear River in the 1520s.  Like Columbus before him, de Allyon was searching for a water route to the Far East.  Working southward, he established the first European settlement in the United States at Winyah Bay, 30 miles from present-day Myrtle Beach, in September 1526.  That settlement, San Miguel de Guadalupe, was abandoned early the following year when de Allyon and most of the 600 settlers died from hardship and disease.

 

·      That the Matt Hughes Memorial Skate Park, between Pepper Geddings Recreation Center and Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium, is free and open to the public?  Rules for use are posted, and helmets are required!  The park’s hours are from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., daily.  When the park opened in 1998, it was named in honor of Matthew Reed Hughes, a local skateboarder who died following a skating accident near his home.

 

·      That illustrations of Myrtle Beach appeared on two Saturday Evening Post covers, giving Myrtle Beach national recognition as a vacation spot?  The first cover appeared August 10, 1957, and featured a scene of utility linemen taking a break from their work to enjoy the beach and the surf.  The second cover appeared July 8, 1961, and featured a rainy Saturday afternoon at the Dunes Club, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.  Many local faces of the time were captured by artist Ben Prins, who created both Saturday Evening Post covers.  The original covers are on display at Chapin Memorial Library, but you can now own reproductions, thanks to the Friends of Chapin Library.  For information about ordering poster-sized recreations of the magazine covers, call the library at 918-1275.

 

·      That the multi-purpose path around the lakes at Grand Park, adjacent to Farrow Parkway, is 1.1 miles long?  People who walk or jog the trail frequently ask how far it is.  By the way, the paved multi-purpose path along Farrow Parkway, from Kings Highway to US 17 Bypass, is approximately 3.5 miles long. 

 

·      That Robert M. Grissom Parkway, which runs from Harrelson Boulevard on the south to Carolina Bays Parkway on the north, is named for a long-time Myrtle Beach City Council member and mayor?  The late Bob Grissom served for 16 years on City Council, including three terms as mayor.  He died in 1998, and the road was named in his honor in April 1999.  Grissom Parkway is sometimes known as “the Bob” among locals.

 

·      That Myrtle Beach’s first “airport” was a grass landing strip that opened in August 1928 near the current intersection of Seaboard Street and Mr. Joe White Avenue?  Myrtle Beach Estates, one of John T. Woodside’s companies, built the makeshift runway to attract wealthy investors.  Myrtle Beach began building a real municipal airport in 1939.  (This tidbit is from Barbara Stokes’ new history book about the area, Greetings from Myrtle Beach, A History, 1900-1980, now on sale at local bookstores and Chapin Memorial Library.)

 

·      That aerial photographs taken near Myrtle Beach in 1930 first revealed the presence of thousands of crater-like features known today as the Carolina Bays?  As part of a Depression-era program to assist farmers through aerial photography, geologists F. A. Melton and William Schriever first observed and photographed the bays from the air.  In 1932, they shared their findings with the scientific community.  A 1933 Harper’s Magazine article by Edna Muldrow, "The Comet that Hit the Carolinas," alerted the entire country to the bays’ existence.  The Carolina Bays are tens of thousands of shallow, oval depressions ranging from 200 feet to seven miles (Lake Waccamaw) across, all oriented in a generally northeast to southwest direction.  Most have an elevated sandy rim more prominent on the southeastern edge.  Carolina Bays heavily dot southeastern North Carolina and northeastern South Carolina, but can be found scattered along the mid-Atlantic seaboard.  Similar oval depressions also have been found in Alaska.  The exact origin of the bays is unknown and the subject of much discussion.  Melton and Schriever proposed the predominant theory, then and now, that they were formed by a meteor or comet that broke up upon entering the Earth’s atmosphere.  Other theories through the years for the bays’ formation include giant beavers, whale wallows, underground springs, ocean currents and wind action.  Visit http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/cbaymbsc.html to see the original aerial photos that revealed the bays.  Then visit http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/recentcb.html for more recent photos.

 

·      That Washington Park Racetrack opened in 1938 on the northeastern corner of Oak Street and 21st Avenue North, offering horse-drawn harness racing?  The park featured a 5,200-seat grandstand and a one-and-a-half-mile, wooden-railed course.  Horse racing and betting continued at Washington Park until 1947, when the state ruled against that form of gambling.  Harness racing briefly returned to the site in 1951-52, followed by NASCAR races in the mid-1950s, until what would become known as Myrtle Beach Speedway opened west of the city in 1958.

 

·      That we have several endangered or threatened animal species along the Grand Strand?  Endangered bird species locally include the Ipswich sparrow, least tern and Wilson’s plover.  The loggerhead turtle is considered a threatened species, while the eastern brown pelican and island glass lizard are listed as species of special concern.  All of these animals nest or winter in our sand dunes and beach grasses, which is another reason why it’s illegal for anyone to disturb or damage either the dunes or sea grass. 

   
         
             
 

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City Hall
937 Broadway Street
P.O. Box 2468, Myrtle Beach, SC 29578
(843) 918-1000   Fax: (843) 918-1028
 
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