Grand Strand Information
The Grand Strand is sixty miles of coastline that stretches from Little River, South Carolina to Georgetown, South Carolina. Often the town of Calabash, North Carolina is included in this majestic stretch of beach because of its proximity. The geography of the area has given it a unique place in history. The coastline of South Carolina forms a sheltered cove from the Atlantic Ocean. Along the coast there are a series of inlets that have proven safe harbors for explorers and pirates alike through the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries.
Myrtle Beach, over time, has become the focal point of the Grand Strand. Myrtle Beach was originally named “Chicora” by the Waccamaaw and Winyah Indians. During the Colonial Period the Grand Strand was a popular port area for transporting goods such as tobacco and rice back to England. Rice plantations developed along the coastline and were a main source of income for the area until the Civil War. The history of the rice plantations is immortalized in the Rice Museum in Georgetown.
From the end of the Civil until the early 1900s much of the Grand Strand was inhabited. The area was rural, poor and did not have adequate roads in which to travel. Myrtle Beach and Huntington Beach State Parks have preserved that portion of history by leaving maritime forests and other natural coastal habitats intact for future generations to enjoy. It was at this time that the timber/turpentine firm, Burroughs & Collins Company (eventually the present day Burroughs & Chapin), started developing land along the shore line. They received a charter to build the Conway and Seashore Railroad, in 1899.
The railroad was completed and in 1901 Burroughs and Collins built the Seaside Inn, the first hotel in New Town (Conway was considered Old Town). They began developing and selling oceanfront lots for get-a-ways for lumber and turpentine workers. Not long after the local newspaper held a contest to officially name the area. Mrs. Addie Burroughs, widow of Franklin Burroughs founder of the company, won the contest and chose to name the town after the wax myrtle trees that grew wild on the shore. New Town became Myrtle Beach.
A small group of businessmen began building an upscale resort, Arcady, at the north end of Myrtle Beach in the early 1920s. It was here that the first golf club, Pine Lakes (still in operation today), was built. It was also the birthplace of the now internationally famous sports magazine, Sports Illustrated. It was not until after Hurricane Hazel in 1954 that the golf boom truly began, during the reconstruction. Since the 1960s there have been new courses opened every year. Currently there are over 100 golf courses in the Grand Strand.