Historic marker unveiled at Charlie's Place

The state historic marker for Charlie’s Place was unveiled Monday afternoon at the site of the former nightspot on Carver Street in Myrtle Beach.

Looking on in the attached photo are City Council members Mike Chestnut and Gregg Smith. The marker came about through the efforts of many, including the Horry County Board of Architectural Review and Historic Preservation. The preservation of the location is being accomplished by the City of Myrtle Beach, which purchased the prop...erty and is investing $650,000 to create a new use for it.

Here’s the full text of the double-sided historical marker.

Charlie and Sarah Fitzgerald opened Charlie’s Place as a supper club in 1937. It was a stop on the “Chitlin’ Circuit,” nightclubs where black entertainers such as Billie Holiday, the Mills Brothers, Little Richard, Ruth Brown, Otis Redding, and The Drifters performed during the era of racial segregation. While the club is gone, the Fitzgerald Motel, built in 1948, remains. The motel served black entertainers who could not stay in whites-only hotels.

Oral tradition holds that “the Shag,” a form of southern swing dancing, originated here. Both white and black customers gathered here to listen to music and dance. In 1950 the Ku Klux Klan led a parade through “The Hill,” the African American neighborhood where Charlie’s Place was located. The Klan returned later and shots were fired into the club, injuring many. Charlie was severely beaten but survived. Some Klansmen were charged, but no one was prosecuted.