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Did you know...???  Page 3

More interesting facts about Myrtle Beach



·         That the phrase “The Grand Strand” was coined in 1949 by Claude Dunnagan as the title for a newspaper column?  The name stuck for the whole region.

·         That earlier names for Myrtle Beach included Long Bay, Withers and New Town?  The area was called Long Bay when a hurricane swept through in 1822.  It was later known as Withers (hence Withers Swash) for the Withers family, which had owned property in the area since the late 1700s.  A Withers post office even opened in 1888.  The Burroughs and Collins Company of Conway purchased much of the Withers’ family land in 1881, and the growing community was called New Town at the turn of the century.  In 1900, a contest was held to give the area an official name, and Addie Burroughs, widow of Franklin G. Burroughs, suggested Myrtle Beach because of the wax myrtle bushes growing abundantly.  The Withers post office then was replaced by the first Myrtle Beach post office in the early 1900s. 

·         That all of the city’s 54 signalized traffic intersections (not counting those which the state maintains on U.S. 17 Bypass) have mast arms and poles, instead of strain wires?  The 54th signalized intersection was installed in 2007 at the intersection of 21st Avenue North and Ocean Boulevard.  (Note:  Flashing emergency signals at fire stations are not included in the total, but they also have mast arms and poles.)

·         That Myrtle Beach was incorporated as a town on March 12, 1938, and became a city on January 4, 1957?  The town’s population was 1,597 in 1940, according to the U.S. Census.  The population passed the magic 5,000 mark in the mid-’50s, thus qualifying for the term “city.”  In 1960, the U.S. Census recorded 7,834 residents of the City of Myrtle Beach.

·         That, on October 16, 1939, the Myrtle Beach Town Council resolved that the town “is in dire need of a modern municipal airport” and agreed to purchase 135 acres for that purpose from Myrtle Beach Farms Company, Inc., at a price of $35 per acre?  Two weeks later, Council named the soon-to-be-built airport “Harrelson Municipal Airport,” in recognition of Mayor W. L. Harrelson’s support of the project.  The original airport land is now part of Myrtle Beach International Airport, and the original airport name lives on in Harrelson Boulevard.

·         That Myrtle Beach city residents with property in the floodplain are eligible for a 25 percent reduction on their flood insurance premiums, thanks to the city’s Class 5 ISO rating for flood insurance?  (Residents outside the floodplain are eligible for a 10 percent premium savings on their flood insurance.)  Myrtle Beach received the Class 5 rating from the Insurance Services Organization in early 2003.  Only 26 communities in the nation have a Class 5 rating, and only three communities have anything better than a Class 5. 

·         That the city received a grant from the S.C. Department of Transportation to “adopt” the interchange of Grissom Parkway and U.S. 17 Bypass?  In return for $80,000 worth of in-kind services, the state is giving the city $320,000 in cash to landscape and maintain the interchange in perpetuity.  Plans call for extensive landscaping along the roadways and exit ramps, as far south as 48th Avenue North on Grissom and as far north as 62nd Avenue on U.S. 17 Bypass.  City staff is installing the irrigation, planting the trees and maintaining the interchange, which includes picking up litter.  The goal is to create an entrance into the city and the road system, using color and visual interest from indigenous trees, perennials and grasses.  The project includes complementary landscaping for the adjacent East Coast Greenway.  The work began in 2005 and will be completed in two more years.

·         That Mr. Joe White Avenue is named for a humble shoeshine man remembered for his friendly smile and colorful personality?  Julius “Joe” White was born in Georgetown in 1910 and moved to Myrtle Beach in 1930.  A self-described “shoe stylist,” he began shining shoes for a nickel in the sixth grade, using the money he earned for lunches and Sunday School tithes.  In the early years, Mr. Joe could be found shining shoes at several barbershops and the Ocean Forest Hotel.  Once the hotel was gone, he settled into a chair at Woody’s Arcade Barbershop off 10th Avenue North, becoming a highly visible fixture in the downtown area.  Mr. Joe died in 1997, and the street was named in his honor in early 2002.  Mr. Joe was a well-known businessman.  He never learned to drive, so Mr. Joe used a bicycle to get to and from his home in the Nance neighborhood.  He gave people a friendly honk and wave as he passed on his bike.  Those who knew him say that his mere presence would prevent mischief, because people didn’t want to disappoint Mr. Joe.  His reputation traveled far beyond Myrtle Beach.  In 1991, the South Carolina General Assembly recognized Mr. Joe White and his wife, Louise, for their exemplary lives.  Former Governor Carroll Campbell also recognized the Whites for their contributions.  Mr. Joe White loved his job and his customers and took uncommon pride in his work.  During his 87 years, he set an example for all to follow.  

·         That Myrtle Beach has at least 19 boards, commissions, committees and corporations that help the city accomplish its goals?  They include those required by state statute, such as the Community Appearance Board, those authorized by city code, such as the Cemetery Committee, a couple of ad hoc groups and the special corporations that do the city’s work, such as the Downtown Redevelopment Corporation.  At full strength, more than 150 volunteers serve on these groups.  The volunteers receive no compensation for their time.    

·         That Myrtle Beach has four recreation centers, two indoor swimming pools, four indoor gymnasiums, two outdoor basketball courts, three weight/fitness rooms, 16 tennis courts, a skateboard park, a roller hockey rink, a golf course, a fitness trail, eight picnic shelters, 17 playgrounds and 45 landscaped parks, not to mention nine-and-a-half miles of beach?

·         That the adjacent section of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway opened June 1, 1935, and was officially dedicated on April 11, 1936, nearly two years before Myrtle Beach became a state-chartered town? 

·        That the City of Myrtle Beach covers 14,931 acres, or 23.33 square miles?  That’s a little smaller than Manhattan, at 23.7 square miles, although Manhattan’s residential population of 1,537,195 (2002 estimate) is 60 times larger than Myrtle Beach’s residential population of 25,410 (2004 estimate).  Speaking of size, Horry County (1,134 square miles) is 89 square miles larger than the entire state of Rhode Island (1,045 square miles), according to 2000 U.S. Census data.

·         That the timbers of the barkentine Freeda A. Wyley were visible until recent decades on the beach near 43rd Avenue North?  The 507-ton, three-masted ship encountered a hurricane offshore in 1893 and burned to the water line.  Its heavy wooden hull drifted onto the beach and remained a local conversation piece for nearly a century, until settling and beach renourishment finally covered it in the early 1990s.

·         That Myrtle Beach received its 11th annual Tree City U.S.A. award in 2007?  Tree City U.S.A. is sponsored by The National Arbor Day Foundation, the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters.  It provides recognition and assistance for urban and community forests.

·         That several city staff members speak second or third languages, including Spanish, French, German, Dutch, Italian, Russian, Portuguese, Albanian and Arabic?  

·         That the City of Myrtle Beach has some 400 miles of water lines, 7,681 mainline valves and 2,017 fire hydrants in its water system?

·         That the first-of-its-kind Underground Facilities Franchise Fund established in 1999 by the City of Myrtle Beach and Santee Cooper had received $10,228,627 as of December 31, 2005?  Other cities in South Carolina have since followed the model set by Myrtle Beach and Santee Cooper.  The city contributes 40-percent of the yearly franchisee fee it receives from Santee Cooper to the fund, and Santee Cooper matches that amount.  The money then is used for construction and installation of underground utilities.  By mid-2005 nearly $8.9 million had been spent to place utility lines underground in 19 separate projects throughout the city.  Those projects include underground installations along Mr. Joe White Avenue, Kings Highway, Ocean Boulevard, 21st Avenue North, Harrelson Boulevard and Withers Drive. 

·         That you can rent the historic Myrtle Beach Train Depot for your next event?  The depot is a popular place for wedding receptions, birthday parties, family reunions and club activities.  The rent is $15 an hour for city residents or $25 an hour for non-residents and includes use of up to a dozen tables and 120 chairs.  A cleaning fee is extra, as is a staff fee for after-hours events.  For more information, call Richard Kirby at 918-2390. 

·         That the City of Myrtle Beach owns and operates Ocean Woods Cemetery at 2408 South Kings Highway?  The cemetery covers approximately 20 acres and has 800 to 1,000 available gravesites.  The city sells new plots for $1,000 each.  The oldest of the nearly 6,000 graves is dated 1879.  For more information, call 918-1490.  

·         That Chapin Memorial Library offers wireless Internet access throughout the building?  The wireless Internet service is free for library cardholders, who will need a PIN access code.  Bring your laptop with an Ethernet network card or a wireless card and surf away.  Look for the Wi-Fi Internet Access brochure at the circulation, reference and children’s desks.  (A couple of notes....  First, work areas with access to electrical outlets are few, so be sure to charge the battery in your laptop.  Second, use compatible headphones if you plan to access audio files.  Third, printing is not available through the laptop connection.  For more information, call Chapin Memorial Library at 918-1275.)

·         That Myrtle Beach has two official historical markers?  The first one installed is located at Hurl Rock Park on Ocean Boulevard at 20th Avenue South and reads: 

South Atlantic Region

William Bartram Trail

Traced 1773-1777


In 1776, naturalist William Bartram

traveled through this area,

noting the “cliffs of rocks”

now known as Hurl Rocks.


Erected by The Garden Club of South Carolina

In cooperation with

The Department of Highways & Public

Transportation of S.C.

Bartram was one of the nation’s first naturalists.  His 1791 book, Travels, describes his 2,400-mile journey through the southeastern U.S.  For more information, visit  (Note:  The South Carolina Department of Transportation has turned the historical marker program over to the South Carolina Department of Archives and History.)  By the way, the second historical marker was installed in 2006 at the original site of the Historic Myrtle Beach Colored School on Mr. Joe White Avenue. 

·         That local residents can play the city’s Whispering Pines Golf Course for just $29 a round through April and just $26 a round from May through September?  Those great rates include the cart fee and tax and are available to all residents of Horry and Georgetown Counties with their local driver’s license.

·         That Myrtle Beach’s first zoning ordinance, approved in 1947, was 22 pages and provided for seven zoning districts within the city?  By comparison, today’s zoning ordinance is more than 200 pages and provides for 38 zoning districts.  The city is working on a zoning ordinance re-write to update the zoning regulations.   

·         That Warbird Park, on Farrow Parkway just west of Kings Highway, features the City of Myrtle Beach’s “air force”?  On display are an A-10 Thunderbolt, an A-7 Corsair II and an F-100 Super Sabre.  These planes were stationed at the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base and given to the city when the base closed in 1993.  The 4.6-acre park includes landscaping, benches and a trail overlooking the runway at Myrtle Beach International Airport.  The park is “dedicated to the men and women of the United States Air Force and their families who lived in our community for almost 40 years (1954-1993) while they served our country and courageously defended our freedom.”

·         That hundreds of South Carolina seashells are on display in the lobby of the Myrtle Beach Convention Center?  Members of the Grand Strand Shell Club gathered this impressive collection from beaches here and elsewhere in the state.  The city funded the four large display cases and agreed to house the collection at the Convention Center.  The incredible specimens include conch shells, sand dollars, sea horses and even a few fossils.  For more information about the shells or the club, contact Bud Lanning at 238-5242.  The collection is near the spiral staircase in the northeast corner of the Convention Center lobby.

·         That the hottest day ever recorded in Myrtle Beach was August 22, 1983, when the mercury reached 105 degrees, while the coldest day on record was January 21, 1985, with a low of four degrees?  Annual weather statistics from the South Carolina State Climatology Office also show that Myrtle Beach has 215 sunny days, 150 overcast days and 42 frost days each year; that the maximum temperature exceeds 90 degrees during 46 days; that 117 days have more than a tenth of an inch of rain; that the wettest months are July and August, while the driest months are October and April; and that the number of sunny days in an average summer month is 18, while the number of sunny days in an average winter month is 15.

·         That the City of Myrtle Beach flies a total of 27 U.S. flags outdoors at its various buildings and facilities?  Speaking of flags, the Circle of Flags on the Plaza at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center has state flags from the 13 original colonies:  Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Connecticut, New York, New Hampshire, Delaware, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, Rhode Island, North Carolina, Georgia and Massachusetts. 

·         That the Myrtle Beach Police Department has several officers who are certified to install infant and child safety car seats?  The officers will perform this service for free.  Just stop by the Ted C. Collins Law Enforcement Center and inquire, or call the police information desk at 918-1382.  The Myrtle Beach Fire Department also has staff members who are certified to install safety seats.

·         That the City of Myrtle Beach requires buildings to be built nearly seven feet farther from the ocean than the state requires?  The SC Office of Coastal Resources Management (OCRM) requires that all new and substantially improved structures be located no less than 27.2 feet landward of the base line (which is often the crest of the primary dune line).  This standard reflects 40 years of beach erosion, based on the OCRM estimate that Myrtle Beach’s shore erodes at a rate of just 0.68 feet per year.  The common name for OCRM’s regulatory line is the 40-year setback line.  The City of Myrtle Beach requires that all new and substantially improved structures be located no less than 34 feet landward of the base line.  This reflects 50 years of beach erosion based on the 0.68 feet/year standard.  Common names for the city’s regulatory line are the Myrtle Beach building line or the 50-year setback line.  Other than pools protected by existing seawalls, the only things that can be constructed between the setback line and the baseline are decks, sand fences and beach walkovers.  New seawalls are not allowed.

·         That fishing is allowed in the lakes at Grand Park, in the pond at Futrell Park and in the swash at Withers Swash Park?  The city and the Air Force Base Redevelopment Authority spent $7,000 in 2004 to stock the Grand Park lakes with fingerling brim, largemouth bass and catfish, as well as minnows for feeder fish and grass carp for weed control.  The brim, bass and catfish have grown and are now catchable, but we ask that you not keep them.  Please practice catch-and-release, so that others may enjoy the fishing, too.  The city did not stock the pond at Futrell Park, but Mother Nature has obliged.  At the Withers Swash Park fishing pier, where the tidal waters are brackish, flounder is a frequent catch.  (By the way, the park also is a great place to bird-watch.)  If you are 16 or over, you will need to be properly licensed for fresh water fishing in the city’s lakes and ponds.  Visit for information about South Carolina fishing regulations.

·         That the City of Myrtle Beach issued 4,444 building permits for a record total of $489,767,965 worth of construction value during fiscal year 2005-06, which ended June 30, 2006?  The total includes 301 permits for new single-family residences, 36 permits for new multifamily residential projects and 54 permits for new commercial buildings.  In 2005-06, residential permits of all kinds totaled $260,236,832 in value, while commercial permits of all kinds totaled $229,531,133.  The $489 million total is 40 percent more than the previous record of $349 million, set in 2004-05, when 3,407 permits of all kinds were issued. 

·         That a “swash” is the point where a natural stream meets the beach and ocean?  The American Heritage Dictionary, Second College Edition, defines a swash as “a narrow channel through which tides flow, or a bar over which waves wash freely.”  Swashes are made by nature, not man.  Five main swashes of various sizes exist within the City of Myrtle Beach.  From south to north, they are Midway Swash, Withers Swash, Deephead Swash, Canepatch Swash and Bear Branch Swash.  The streams and floodplains of these swashes serve as natural drainage basins and provide flood storage for rainfall in their immediate area.  They also provide a valuable service by filtering stormwater.

·         That Myrtle Beach has two on-ground and 11 elevated water storage tanks with a total capacity of 8.2 million gallons?  The largest on-ground storage tank holds two million gallons of water, while the largest elevated tank holds one million gallons.  All of the elevated tanks are in the 150-foot height range, with the tallest at 154.6 feet.  Three of the tanks (one ground, two elevated) are outside the city limits, in the Lake Arrowhead and Briarcliffe areas.

·         That the Myrtle Beach Convention Center was built in 1967 and has been expanded three times?  The building functioned as a civic center until 1976, when it was expanded to more than 55,000 square feet to accommodate a growing convention business.  It was expanded in 1994 with an extra 100,000 square feet of exhibit hall space.  The most recent expansion, completed in 2003, included a 400-room Sheraton hotel, parking garage and special events plaza.

·         That Myrtle Beach could have been named “Edgewater” instead?  Edgewater was the second-place suggestion in that impromptu 1900 contest to give New Town an official name.  Conway was “old town,” and New Town became Myrtle Beach.

·         That Myrtle Beach’s tree protection ordinance identifies “indigenous” trees, “protected” trees and “landmark” trees of certain types and sizes and allows such trees to be removed only in very limited circumstances?  These protections apply to all public and private property, except for lots containing one single-family residence, where only trees identified as “indigenous” or “landmark” are protected.  See Appendix A “Zoning,” Article IX “Supplemental Development Regulations,” Section 903 “Tree Protection” for the complete text of this ordinance, which goes into more detail than this synopsis. Visit, then click on the link for “complete city code.”  By the way, “caliper” is the measurement of a tree’s thickness at one foot above the soil line.  “Diameter at breast height” is the measurement of a tree’s thickness at four-and-a-half feet above ground. 

“Indigenous trees,” according to the code, are any live oak, eastern red cedar, southern magnolia or bald cypress with a caliper of four inches or greater.  These are protected on all properties, including lots with single-family residences. 

“Protected trees” include the following:  trees planted or retained to meet requirements of the city’s landscape ordinance, wax myrtle and crepe myrtle trees of certain heights (10 or 12 feet, depending on definitions), any tree on city property or public right-of-way with a three-inch caliper or greater, any sycamore or sweet gum tree with a 12-inch diameter at breast height or greater, any pine tree with an 18-inch diameter at breast height or greater (except any Japanese black pine, which is protected at two-inches or greater diameter at breast height), any indigenous tree (defined above) and all other tree species that have a caliper of five inches or more.   

“Landmark trees” are identified as any eastern red cedar with a breast height diameter of 30 inches, any southern magnolia with a breast height diameter of 30 inches, any live oak with a breast height diameter of 30 inches, any laurel oak with a breast height diameter of 36 inches, any willow oak with a breast height diameter of 36 inches, any red maple with a breast height diameter of 36 inches, any bald cypress with a breast height diameter of 30 inches, any American holly with a breast height diameter of 20 inches, any flowering dogwood with a breast height diameter of 15 inches and any hickory (except pecan) with a breast height diameter of 36 inches.  These trees are protected on all properties, public and private.

It is illegal to cut, damage or destroy any “protected” or “landmark” tree without first obtaining a “protected tree” or “landmark tree” removal permit.  Permits to remove “protected” trees may be issued if the tree is hazardous or diseased, infectious or in decline as certified by a registered forester or certified arborist; if the tree or its root system is causing visible damage to structures and/or areas used for pedestrian or vehicular traffic; if the tree is causing such damage as certified by a structural engineer; if the tree is within a power line easement and cannot be properly pruned; if plans approved by the Community Appearance Board allow the tree to be removed, cut or disturbed, after all applicable permits for construction are issued; if the tree is within the footprint or within 10 feet of the footprint of buildings in single-family residential districts; or if the tree is to be removed for commercial timbering purposes. 

“Landmark” trees may only be removed if the tree is hazardous and in decline, or if it is diseased, infectious or in decline as certified by a registered forester or certified arborist.  The Board of Zoning Appeals may authorize issuance of a landmark tree removal permit provided that the board determines that removal of the tree is necessary to develop the property in a reasonable and prudent manner.  Obviously, the application for any tree removal permit must be made prior to the work being performed.

All protected trees removed without a permit and some removed with a permit must be replaced according to the code’s mitigation table.  Trees of certain sizes and types must be replaced with one or more trees of specified sizes. 

The tree protection ordinance also covers such things as proper pruning and protection during construction, although those are not detailed here.  By the way, the ordinance requires that any professional tree-care person sign an affidavit stating that he or she has received and read the city’s tree protection ordinance and associated care standards when applying for a business license.

·        That the familiar Myrtle Beach city seal – the seagull and sun with palm trees and beach – is copyrighted? The seal was created by local artist John Dietz and first published on March 15, 1976, which became its copyright date. The city acquired the rights in 1995 and applied for and received the copyright registration that year. The city’s copyright on the seal is valid through 2071.

·       That nearly 1,000 men and women play in Myrtle Beach’s adult fall recreation leagues?  In October 2006, we had 38 men’s softball teams (760 players), six co-ed softball teams (120 players) and eight adult flag football teams (about 100 players).  2006 adult summer league programs included five women’s softball teams, eight over-30 softball teams, five restaurant softball teams, six entertainment industry softball teams and seven men’s basketball teams. 

·         That President George Washington passed through Myrtle Beach on his tour of southern states in 1791?   He dined in Little River April 27, spent the night of April 27 at Jeremiah Vereen’s house, near present-day Lake Arrowhead Road and U.S. 17, crossed Singleton Swash at the present-day Dunes Club April 28, traveled south through Myrtle Beach on the old Kings Road, near the ocean, ate dinner at George Pawley’s house, then spent the night of April 28 at Dr. Henry Flagg’s house, at present-day Brookgreen Gardens.  Here’s what Washington wrote in his diary about each of these locations...

April 27 Dined at a private house (one Cochrans) about two miles farther [from the North Carolina/South Carolina line]


April 27 ...lodged at Mr. Vareens 14 miles more and two miles short of the long bay. To his house we were directed as a Tavern, but the proprietor of it either did not keep one, or would not acknowledge it. We were therefore en[ter]tained (& very kindly) without being able to make compensation.


April 28 Mr. Vareen piloted us across the Swash (which at high water is impassable, & at times, by the shifting of the Sands is dangerous) onto the long Beach of the Ocean; and it being at a proper time of the tide we passed along it with ease and celerity to the place of quitting it which is estimated at 16 miles...


April 28 Five Miles farther we got dinner & fed our horses at a Mr. Pauleys a private house, no public one being on the road...


April 28 ...being on the Road, & kindly invited by a Doctor flagg to his house, we lodged there; it being about 10 miles from Pauleys & 33 from Vareens.


Heading farther south, Washington next visited Clifton Plantation on the Waccamaw Neck, then crossed the Waccamaw River (he wrote “Waggamaw”) to Georgetown, where he was greeted by a cannon salute.  (Source:  South Carolina Department of Archives and History, via eGO Travel Guides.)

·         That three Myrtle Beach police officers work full-time as School Resource Officers (SROs) at Myrtle Beach Middle School, Myrtle Beach High School and the Academy of Arts and Science? The city’s formal SRO program began in September 1999, with the officers’ salary and benefits funded by a three-year federal grant. Following the grant, the city and the Horry County school district each agreed to pay half of the salaries and benefits. SROs are asked to make a three-year commitment when chosen for the assignment, although some serve longer.

What do School Resource Officers do? The uniformed SROs teach classes where law enforcement and decision-making skills are involved, such as government, driver’s education and sometimes even math and science. They also work closely with faculty and staff to create and review security and emergency plans, attend or participate in athletic and special events, and are available to speak with students one-on-one. They direct and monitor traffic during arrival and dismissal times at their schools. In short, the SROs go where the students go.

The officers handle any criminal offenses that occur on campus and have been instrumental in helping solve crimes that involved students or former students. Special SRO programs include Project Sentry, which is a pledge to resolve conflict through non-violent means, as well as programs for prom night safety and D.U.I. prevention. During summer vacation, the officers take turns serving in summer school or resume their regular patrol and traffic duties.

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P.O. Drawer 2468
Myrtle Beach, SC 29578
Phone:  (843) 918-1000
Fax:  (843) 918-1028

© Copyright 2004-08, The City of Myrtle Beach. All rights reserved.