March 11, 2013

Happy 75th, Myrtle Beach

Happy Birthday, Myrtle.

Happy Birthday, Myrtle.

The city turns 75 this morning, an august age for anybody.

Granted, in Conway’s ancient eyes – the river city’s 279 years old this year – Myrtle Beach is likely still an upstart pipsqueak. But 75 is nothing to scoff at. Surfside Beach has another 26 years before it reaches that milestone. North Myrtle Beach is 30 years away. And other fast-growing communities such as Socastee, Little River or Carolina Forest have yet to even become a municipality.

Seventy-five years is quite a while to have been watching the world pass by. The city hasn’t been alone, though. The newspaper has been chronicling it all from the beginning.

The weekly Myrtle Beach News, one half of what eventually became The Sun News, began publication in 1935, three years before the area was incorporated. Since that first issue on June 1, 1935, there has never been a week that Myrtle Beach did not have a newspaper.

The city has seen innumerable changes since 1938, growing from a sleepy resort town that barely had paved roads to the centerpiece of a tourism powerhouse that draws millions of visitors each year from all over the world.

With that growth has come its own set of challenges: increases in crime, increases in traffic, increases in diversity, increases in pretty much everything.

How we manage that growth over the next 75 years will be key and are why efforts such as the city’s 10-year comprehensive plan are so important. Decisions made now about seemingly mundane items such as zoning or roads or building heights will ripple throughout the coming decades.

Championing the best path for that growth, celebrating its successes and learning from its failures, is a constant goal of these editorial pages.

As we celebrate Myrtle Beach’s 75 years, the words of our former publisher Mark Garner – also a former Myrtle Beach mayor – come to mind, written upon the merger of The Sun and The News in 1961:

“This newspaper has a great opportunity – an opportunity to promote and further the continued healthy growth of our fabulous resort coast, an opportunity to provide the extensive news coverage which our readers expect and deserve, and an opportunity to serve as a community sounding board on issues of public interest.

“We also face a challenge – the challenge confronting any newspaper worth its salt, to stand for what is right, to resist attempts by those who would influence or ‘slant’ news, to speak out forthrightly on vital subject, and to lead, not follow, in the vigorous development of this area.

“But most importantly, we have a responsibility – a responsibility to serve to the best of our ability the people of Myrtle Beach and Horry County, fairly and impartially, without bias, without fear, without prejudice.

“Our talents are dedicated toward these goals.”

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