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North Myrtle Beach
North Myrtle Beach was founded more than 30 years ago when the communities of Windy Hill, Crescent Beach, Ocean Drive, and Cherry Grove united. Each of these communities has its own appeal, as witnessed by generations of vacationers who return to one locale year after year. North Myrtle Beach's accommodations include everything from rustic beach cottages and mom-and-pop motels to luxury resorts. The city has nearly 16,000 residents and is also home to many fine restaurants and family amusements. Of course, you can't describe North Myrtle Beach without mentioning the shag, a dance that originated here and continues to thrive in local dance clubs and at annual shag reunions. Contact the North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce, 270 U.S. 17 N., North Myrtle Beach, SC 29582; (877) 332-2662; www.northmyrtlebeachchamber.com
Cherry Grove Beach
The Cherry Grove section of North Myrtle Beach offers some of the best surf fishing opportunities on the Grand Strand. Several marinas in Cherry Grove offer charter boats and deep sea fishing in the Gulf Stream of the Atlantic Ocean. If you want a personalized fishing tour, you can rent a boat for the day and fish the Intracoastal Waterway and the creeks and rivers accessible from it. The Cherry Grove Pier offers excellent fishing, with fishing pole rentals for those needing their own fishing gear! Cherry Grove is unique in that it sits on a tidal salt marsh. There is a boat ramp and pier on 54th Ave to put a boat into the creek for flounder fishing! Cherry Grove also has an inlet (Hog Inlet) and a fishing pier owned by the Prince family. The Cherry Grove pier does firework show on the fourth of July. Cherry Grove has many very nice restaurants including The Shack, Filets, Stevens Oyster Roast, Duffy's Seafood and Billy the Kids (also great oyster roasts)
The Ocean Drive section is the birthplace of the Shag, the official South Carolina State Dance, and boasts many dance clubs such as the Spanish Galleon, Fat Harold's Beach Club, Ducks, and Pirates Cove who cater to not only shaggers, but anyone enjoying a fun evening of beach music, cold drinks and some pretty nice folks. Ocean Drive also has the areas only oceanfront amusement park. The Ocean Drive Pavillion and amusement park was open in the 1950s and 60s and then the amusement park shut down for many years to reopen in approximately 2006 in the same location at the end of Main Street right beside the "Horeshoe" where the annual Christmas tree is lit. A dont miss is Hoskins a favorite dining choice since the early 50's!
Crescent Beach like Ocean Drive has a horseshoe at the end of what was once Main Street in Crescent Beach. Crescent has many of the older beach houses that folks used to rent along with many locals restaurants including one of our favorites Benny Rappas. If you like brick oven pizza then Benitos is a don't miss!
Windy Hill like Cherry Grove also sits along the tidal salt marsh. Windy Hill is the southern most part of North Myrtle Beach and has some of the best shopping and dining located at Barefoot Landing and across the street at North Beach Plantation at 21 Main. Other great choices are Hamburger Joes, and Joes Bar and Grill.
One of the area's earliest coastal settlements, Little River lies a short distance from the ocean along the Intracoastal Waterway, just below the North Carolina border. It was a popular harbor for pirates in the 1700s and Civil War blockade-runners in the 1800s. Today, Little River (population about 7,000) has a thriving charter boat and commercial fishing industry. Little River's most popular event is the Blue Crab Festival, held each May. Arts and crafts, entertainment, and educational exhibits are featured alongside booths offering a variety of delicious foods — including crab cakes, steamed crabs, and other blue crab creations. Contact the Little River Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 400, Little River, SC 29566; (843) 249-6604; www.littleriverchamber.org, www.littleriversc.com
Families began vacationing in Myrtle Beach (originally called New Town) more than a century ago, making their way from inland locales by horse and buggy, then ferrying over the Waccamaw River to reach the undeveloped coast. Oceanfront development began in the early 1900s. Myrtle Beach became a town in 1938 and a city in 1957. Myrtle Beach has a population of nearly 30,000 and is the largest and most developed community of the Grand Strand, with hundreds of hotels, restaurants, attractions, retail stores, and other businesses. Contact the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, 1200 N. Oak St., Myrtle Beach, SC 29577; (843) 626-7444 or (800) 356-3016; www.cityofmyrtlebeach.com.
A Past as Facinating as Our Present
The history of South Carolina's Grand Strand is among the most fascinating and colorful in America. Located in the northeastern corner of the state, most of the area lies within Horry County (pronounced "oh-ree"), and extends along the coast into what is known as the Waccamaw Neck in Georgetown County.
Native Americans, which included the Waccamaw and Winyah tribes, were the first inhabitants and lived in the region for thousands of years. They were joined in 1526 by explorers who arrived under the Spanish leadership of Lucas Vesquez de Aylion. This small colony on the Waccamaw Neck was the earliest settlement in North America by Europeans, but struggled and eventually failed.
With the passing of time and the eventual settlement of Charles Town further south in 1670, the population and landscape of the Grand Strand slowly began to change. By 1721, the petition for a new parish, Prince George, Winyah, was granted and English colonists laid out plans for Georgetown, the state's third oldest city, in 1730.
While indigo was an early cash crop, it was the cultivation of rice on massive plantations along the region's fertile river low lands that made merchants and planters here among the richest in the colonies. When the American Revolution erupted, the area played a significant role by sending both Thomas Lynch Sr. and Thomas Lynch Jr. to sign the Declaration of Independence. The Marquis de Lafayette, who came from France to help in our cause against Great Britain, first landed in America just north of Georgetown. And General Francis Marion, the legendary Swamp Fox, led many guerrilla actions in the area throughout the conflict.
By 1840, Georgetown District produced nearly one-half of the total rice crop of the United States and became the largest rice-exporting port in the world. Wealthy planters and their families, seeking refuge from the hot and humid summers at nearby plantations, escaped to the breezy comforts of Pawleys Island and turned it into one of the first summer resorts on the Atlantic coast.
After the Civil War, the rice culture slowly faded and lumber and naval stores became the primary industries. Horry County, in particular, was isolated for many years by numerous rivers and swamps, and was often referred to as the "Independent Republic of Horry." Residents were hardworking farmers, lumbermen and turpentine distillers who bartered for their necessities. A typical family in 1875 earned around $2.50 a year in what was nearly a cashless economy.
Around 1900, Burroughs and Collins Company, a timberturpentine firm with extensive beachfront holdings, began developing the resort potential of the Grand Strand by constructing a railroad to the beach from Conway. The company built the first hotel, the Seaside Inn, in 1901. In 1912, Chicago businessman Simeon B. Chapin purchased property and became a major influence in the area's development. And in the 1920s, a group of businessmen created an upscale oceanfront resort that included the sumptuous Ocean Forest Hotel and the area's first golf course, which later became Pine Lakes International.
While the Intracoastal Waterway opened in 1936, Myrtle Beach was incorporated in 1938, and Myrtle Beach Air Force Base was established during the 1940s, growth along the strand languished during the Depression and World War II. But fueled by the optimism and growing prosperity that engulfed America during the 1950s, Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand soon became one of the most popular destinations in the Southeast for summertime vacationers.
The 1960s ushered in a golf boom along the coast, with the total number of courses exceeding 100 today. Since the 1970s, growth has continued at record pace – with new accommodations, attractions, residential and retail developments that have not only made the Myrtle Beach area a year-round tourism destination, but one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the country.
Chronological History of Horry County and Myrtle Beach
- 1735 – First land grants established in area that became Horry County
- 1801 – Horry District named for Brigadier General Peter Horry. The village of Kingston was designated the county seat and renamed Conwayborough for Brigadier General Robert Conway
- 1830s – Commercial production of naval stores becomes important
- 1861-65 – Civil War. First steamboat on the Waccamaw River was "The Francis Marion." The age of steamboats locally lasts through World War I
- 1881 – Burroughs and Collins Company of Conway purchases much of the Withers' family land (in an area that later became Myrtle Beach)
- 1886 – Charleston earthquake felt here on Aug. 31
- 1887 – Railroad comes to Conway (changed from Conwayborough in 1883). A station along the route is named Loris
- 1888 – Withers Post Office opened (in area that later becomes Myrtle Beach)
- 1890s – Commercial tobacco cultivation begins
- 1893 – Tidal wave occurs on Oct. 13
- 1899 – Seashore and Conway Railroad begins construction of line from Conway to the beach
- 1900 – First train runs to Myrtle Beach (known as New Town at the time)
- 1901 – Burroughs and Collins Co. builds first beach hotel, the Seaside Inn
- 1907 – Contest held to give beach community its official name. Addie Burroughs, widow of Franklin G. Burroughs, suggests "Myrtle Beach" because of numerous wax myrtle shrubs that grow naturally and in abundance along the coast
- 1910s – Withers Post Office is replaced by the first Myrtle Beach Post Office
- 1912 – Chicago businessman Simeon B. Chapin purchases beach property and invests capital in town's development
- 1914 – Road to Myrtle Beach built. Town of Aynor is incorporated.
- 1927 – Myrtle Beach's first golf course, the Ocean Forest Club, opens and is later renamed Pine Lakes International Country Club
- 1930 – Ocean Forest Hotel opens in Myrtle Beach
- 1936 – Intracoastal Waterway is completed
- 1938 – Myrtle Beach is incorporated
- 1940s – Myrtle Beach Air Force Base is established and used for coastal patrols during World War II
- 1948 – Ocean Drive Beach is incorporated
- 1953 – Crescent Beach is incorporated
- 1954 – Hurricane Hazel slams ashore on Oct. 15. Coastal Carolina College is established
- 1958 – Ocean View Hospital opens in Myrtle Beach
- 1959 – Cherry Grove Beach is incorporated
- 1964 – Surfside Beach and Windy Hill Beach are incorporated
- 1965 – Horry-Georgetown Technical College is established
- 1966 – Atlantic Beach is incorporated
- 1968 – Ocean Drive Beach, Crescent Beach, Windy Hill Beach and Cherry Grove Beach consolidated and become North Myrtle Beach
- 1974 – Ocean Forest Hotel is demolished Sept. 13
- 1989 – Hurricane Hugo hits Sept. 21-22
- 1993 – Myrtle Beach Air Force Base is closed
- 2006 – After 58 years of operation, the Myrtle Beach Pavilion Amusement Park holds its "Farewell Season" and closes
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