Myrtle Beach DIVISION

The Grand Strand refers to a large stretch of beaches on the East Coast of South Carolina, extending from Little River to Georgetown, South Carolina. It consists of more than 60 miles along an essentially uninterrupted arc of beach land. The population of the Grand Strand was 329,449 at the 2010 Census. The Grand Strand has become a major tourist’s attraction on the Southeastern coast, with its primary city, Myrtle Beach, attracting over ten million visitors each year. It is home to numerous restaurants and theme parks, making it very popular with families in the summer, and snow birds in the winter. The Grand Strand is made up of Little River, North Myrtle Beach, Myrtle Beach, Socastee, Surfside Beach, Garden City Beach, Murrells Inlet, Litchfield, Pawleys Island, and Georgetown. Prior to the arrival of Europeans, the area was inhabited by Native Americans of the Waccamaw Tribe. They used the river for travel and fished along the shore line. The first Europeans settled along the Grand Strand in the late 18th century. These settlers were met with mixed results producing unremarkable quantities of indigo and tobacco as the coast’s soil was sandy .and most of the crop yields were of an inferior quality. On February 28, 1899 Burroughs and Collins received their charter to build the Conway and Seashore Railroad to transport lumber from the coast to inland customers. The railroad begin service in May of 1900 with two wood burning locomotives. After the railroad was completed employees of the lumber company and railroad company would take train rides with their families on weekends, becoming the first Grand Strand tourists. A nickname was given to the beach area as “New Town” Franklin Burroughs envisioned turning New Town into a tourist destination rivaling the Florida and North Eastern Beaches. Burroughs sons completed the railroad’s expansion to the beach and opened the Seaside Inn in 1901. After its founding, New Town continued to grow until 1957, when it incorporated. A contest was held to name the town and Burroughs’ wife suggested honoring the locally abundant shrub, the Southern Wax Myrtle. In 1937, Myrtle Beach Municipal Airport was built, however it was promptly taken over by the United States Army Air Corps and converted into a military air base. In 1993 the Air Force closed the base and a new terminal has been built and re-named Myrtle Beach International Airport.

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