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How it Began - A History of Myrtle Beach

Families started to visit Myrtle Beach more than a century ago. The small oceanside village was sparsely populated until 1908, when a railroad was built between the neighboring city of Conway and Myrtle Beach. The railroad ended in 1899 in the locale of Pine Island, and was extended four miles into the future city of Myrtle Beach. The Seaside Inn, as well as the Pavilion, were built where today's downtown is located.

In 1927, what is now called Pine Lakes Country Club was designed by Ron White, the first president of the PGA of America. This was the first golf course built in Myrtle Beach which is where its nickname "The Granddaddy" comes from. Pine Lakes was the stepping stone that started the golf boom along the Grand Strand and transformed the old fishing town into what is now The Golf Capital of the World.

The natural beauty of Myrtle Beach had always attracted visitors throughout the 1930s. The name of the city was derived from the Wax Myrtle Shrub that grows natively throughout the area.The city grew to include areas as far north as present-day Ocean Forest. The Intracoastal Waterway began construction several years later. In 1938 Myrtle Beach was incorporated as a town and in 1957 was established as a city.

In 1947 a meeting was held to discuss the construction of a new club with multiple facilities, one of which was a golf course that has since created a new standard in golf. That course is The Dunes Golf & Beach Club. The Dunes Club golf course was designed by none other than Robert Trent Jones and has since been a host of numerous tournaments including multiple Senior PGA Tour events, the 1973 PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament, and has been the recipient of countless awards including Golf Digests "Top 100 Courses in America." In 1992 Robert Trent Jones oversaw rennovations which included new Penn Links grass greens and more player friendly contours on the putting surfaces. In 2001 the course announced it would close down for a $6 million rennovation project which included extending the driving range by 40 yards, replacing the greens with A-1 bent grass (considered to be the best putting surface available) and reshaped the greens to restore them to their original design.

In the 1960s, northern development in what was unincorporated Horry County began to develop with the newly formed communities of North Myrtle Beach and Briarcliffe Acres. Myrtle Beach continued to grow, and by the 1970s, had become well associated with tourism. Parts of what are now US 17 Bypass were  built during this time. The construction boom along the Grand Strand began in the late 1970s with many suburbs of Myrtle Beach such as Surfside Beach and North Myrtle Beach. The areas surrounding Myrtle Beach continued to thrive and grow as more families were relocating to the area from the Midwest and Northeast.

In more recent history, Caledonia Golf and Fish Club was opened in 1994 and its sister course True Blue was opened in 1998. Located in the Lowcountry of South Carolina,True Blue rests on the site of historic True Blue Plantation, the famed 19th century indigo and rice plantation. The original plantation which Caledonia was built on can be traced back to Dr. Robert Nesbit, A Scotsman who named it Caledonia, a Roman name for Scotland which the country is still poetically called. It is not known whether Dr. Nesbit acquired the property through his marriage in 1797 to Elizabeth Pawley or by purchase. The Pawley family owned a significant amount of property in the area and their name survives today- the surrounding area is now the town of Pawleys Island, South Carolina.

Areas just south of Myrtle Beach, like Pawley's Island and Murrell's Inlet, have interesting histories to themselves; far different than that of Myrtle Beach. These communities for centuries were known for their fishing boats and large fishing industry. These areas are historically known to have been favorite hideaways for pirates, including Black Beard himself, but have flourished into successful communities for residents and tourists alike.