It’s been about 15 years since Howard Hucks last visited Myrtle Beach, though his childhood memories of spending summers at his family’s tourist home, the Huckslin Inn, in the 1930s and ‘40s are vivid. Even at 92 years old.
The inn, owned by Hucks’ aunt and uncle, sat on Ocean Boulevard and Seventh Avenue North and was one of about 30 or 40 tourist homes that rented rooms to those who came to spend some time at the beach, said Hucks, who now lives in Bennettsville. Myrtle Beach is celebrating its 75th birthday this year.
“We loved Aunt Byrd so,” he said. “Some days she would put on her bathing suit and we’d all go out and sit in the sand on the beach and watch the porpoises out in the ocean. Sometimes we could even see a school of fish swimming in the shallow water.”
His uncle and aunt, Byrd and Fred Hucks, ran the Huckslin from the mid-1920s through the 1940s before selling it, Hucks said.
“In the ‘40s they charged $5 a day,” he said. “And that was for room and board.”
The house had about 20 rooms that would be rented out to families that traveled “from a good distance,” Hucks said. He said he thought there were probably fewer than 100 people who lived in Myrtle Beach year-round.
“There were not a lot more during the summer,” he said. “People had not caught on to going to the beach. And a lot of them had no way to get there.”
Hucks, who grew up in the Conway area, said there were some who could take the trip on the train that ran between Conway and Myrtle Beach.
“I remember the train coming, puffing and smoking down Main Street from the beach,” he said. “They’d stop right on Main Street. The horse and mules went crazy.”
During Hucks’ last visit for Labor Day about15 years ago he said it was hard to believe how crowded the Grand Strand had become.
“It was a very quiet place year-round,” he said. “There just weren’t many people there. … Now it’s such a crowded place with traffic and all from Myrtle Beach all the way to Aynor.”
He said he’s no longer able to make the hour-and-a-half trip from Bennettsville to Myrtle Beach because it’s too long for him to be in the car.
“We’d love to visit our people,” he said of his family members who still live at the beach. “We still have a lot of cousins there.”
Myrtle Beach 75th birthday photo contest ends Monday
Do you have photographs of your favorite times in Myrtle Beach? The Sun News is looking for pictures taken locally for our Myrtle Beach 75th birthday photo contest.
There’s less than a week left to submit your photos. To participate visit www.MyrtleBeachOnline.com/mb75 and click the tab that says “photo contests.” Photos will be accepted through Labor Day.
Photographs can be submitted in the following categories: best shag photo, best bathing suit photo, best favorite Myrtle Beach memory (couples), best vintage photo, best family vacation photo, best fish related photo, best golf experience, best sunrise/sunset photo and favorite experience on the beach photo. Visit the website for descriptions of each category.
Once photos are uploaded, urge your friends and family members to vote for your picture because after Labor Day, we’ll take the 16 photos with the most votes and enter them into a bracket-style tournament. The grand prize winner will be chosen after four rounds, with category winners receiving a prize as well.
There are a number of categories to choose from, so pick your best shot and submit it to the contest. One winner in each category will have their winning photo placed on their choice of an 8-by-10-inch print, a coffee mug, a mouse pad or four coasters.
The grand prize winner will receive their photo as an 11-by-14-inch mounted canvas print.
The Sun News reserves the right to reprint submitted photos in its print product and specialty publications.
For more details, visit www.MyrtleBeachOnline.com/mb75.