Myrtle Beach History: Get to Know This Popular Beach Town
Attracting over 14 million visitors each year, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is located in Horry County. The city ranks among the state’s most popular tourist destinations who enjoy beaches, activities and family-loving vibes. However, the area also offers a rich history full of culture dating to Native America tribes who settled the area centuries before Europeans. Keep reading for some Myrtle Beach history and fun facts.
Myrtle Beach History: Fun Facts for Travelers
The Waccamaw and Winyah Indians first settled in the area and inhabited what is now known as King’s Highway. This trail once connected northern states to Charleston and Savannah. After that, the area was not a successful settlement until English colonists arrived in the area.
The Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge is located in Georgetown, Horry, and part of Marion Counties. It covers almost 27,000 acres and includes the Cox Ferry Lake Recreation Area.
By the 1700s, Myrtle Beach housed Europeans and also became a hot spot among pirates. During this time, pirates use the Grand Stand’s coves and inlets to hide while the Prince George Parish designed plans for Georgetown, the state’s third oldest city. The Grand Strand now stretches from Georgetown 60 miles up to Little River.
Building a Resort
Horry County did not benefit from residents or business until the early 1900s. A local timber-turpentine company then built the area’s first hotel. When the Conway and Seashore Railroad was constructed in 1899, railroad workers would come to the beach to rest and relax. They called it, “New Town.” Conway, SC was referred to as “Old Town.”
The city received the name Myrtle Beach in 1900, due to the large number of wax myrtle bushes located in the area. It became a town in 1938 and officially recognized as a city in 1957.
Myrtle Beach continued steady growth until the 1970s when construction boomed. During the ’70s and ’80s, the permanent population tripled thus bringing in new residences, attractions, retail shops, services and other amenities. Today, the area attracts some 14 million annual visitors and houses over 32,000 permanent residents.