Have you ever visited Myrtle Beach, South Carolina? It is a beautiful windy beach with a rich history.
Records show that prior to European arrival, the area was occupied by the Waccamaw Tribe. Their primary activities included fishing and trading with other communities upriver. In 1526, a group of Spanish colonists settled 30 miles south of present-day Myrtle Beach, but the community did not last long; it was abandoned after a short period of time. It was only again in the late 18th century that European settlers returned. They built tobacco and indigo plantations which were only moderately successful. A few families received land grants along the coast and built their homes in the area but for the most part, it remained uninhabited until after the American Revolution. The family Withers were the area’s primary residents until 1822, when a forceful hurricane swept their home into the sea killing all 18 people inside. The surviving members of the Withers family decided to abandon their plots, and the natural vegetation once again returned to the area as it was once again largely uninhabited.
The origin of the name “Myrtle” Beach
This area is still replete with the beautiful wax myrtle trees that bloom each June or July and stay in bloom most of the summer. Their flowers are beautiful shades of pink, purple and white. The myrtle trees line most medians on our roadways. No respectable property here is without some myrtle trees.
For Some of you who are golfers you may know that Pine Lakes Country Club is the oldest golf course in Myrtle Beach. In the early 1920’s, a group of businessmen began to build a classy getaway (which is now the Pine Lakes Country Club), and the Ocean Forest Hotel.
The golf course was finished in 1927. Today it is just as elegant and is a reminder of the good life of bygone days. Sam Snead and Gene Sarazen, well-known names to any golfer, socialized with the Vanderbilts and the Rockefellers here. The old Scottish tradition is carried on today. The country club is the place many families still choose for the “coming out” debutante affairs for their daughters, or family weddings.
The Ocean Forest Hotel was THE hotel – very grand with over 300 rooms, crystal chandeliers, a ballroom for dancing the night away, pools – inside and out; and even stables for your horses. It was home to the first radio station WMY13. In short, it was THE PLACE to be if you were in Myrtle Beach. Unfortunately, it was demolished in 1974, to make room for “progress.”
In those days long ago, Myrtle Beach had a weekly newspaper, and telephone operators kept up with everyone and knew everything that was going on! In 1952, the first Miss South Carolina contest was held and none other than our own Mickey Spillane was one of the judges.
Today’s Myrtle Beach
Today, Myrtle Beach is a destination that is easily accessible. During the late 1900s. the US 17 Bypass was completed, linking the various coastal communities. The city of Myrtle Beach continues to see urban growth with suburbs extending to North Myrtle Beach and Long Bay. Just south of the city, the Murrell’s Inlet and Pawley’s Island are gradually becoming part of the greater Myrtle beach area. Residential areas continue to grow and many of the golf resorts have incorporated housing estates on their grounds. This provides both residents and visitors with the opportunity to stay within a stone’s throw of the golf courses. There are more public golf courses in Myrtle Beach than most golfing destinations in the U.S. Special golfing and family vacation packages provide you with access to several courses during your stay.