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Pavilion heirlooms find new home at Broadway

The Hurricane may be gone forever, but at least some of the memories - and nine of the rides - from the Pavilion amusement park's 58 years on the oceanfront have found a new home.

Burroughs & Chapin Co. Inc. announced Thursday that many attractions from the Myrtle Beach Pavilion Amusement Park will move to Broadway at the Beach near the Carmike Theaters to become the "Pavilion Nostalgia Park," a miniature family amusement park and museum.

Admission will be free at the year-round park, where visitors will be able to ride the classic 1912 Herschell-Spillman Carousel, listen to the historical hand-carved German Baden Band Organ, munch on funnel cakes and test their skills in a 2,800-square-foot arcade.

The park also will feature a retail shop with retro toys and logo merchandise.

Officials are targeting July 4 for an opening date, but it may open sooner.

A year ago today, company officials announced the closing of the Pavilion because it was no longer profitable.

Work has been ongoing to tear down the park since its Farewell Season ended in September.

"March 9 [2006] was a tough day for our company and me personally," said J. Egerton Burroughs, chairman of the B&C board. "But we've made every effort to preserve the rides and historical artifacts."

He said Nostalgia Park should not be perceived as a relocation of the Pavilion because "it is now part of Myrtle Beach history. Nothing can replace it."

B&C officials said they heard from scores of parents and visitors asking for a safe, easily accessible and affordable amusement site to take their children.

Many asked for them to relocate the rides, and other local groups wanted to set up statues and museums to honor the faces associated with 58-year-old park.

"We incorporated their ideas into this park," Burroughs said.

The park will include a sculpture of Earl Husted, longtime park general manager, with a child of a yet-to-be-chosen former Pavilion employee and five other people near the organ, Burroughs said.

The museum will feature photographs and artifacts to tell the story of the park's past.

B&C said it expects to add future phases of amusement rides at different locations around Broadway in the coming years.

And while the Hurricane roller coaster was dismantled, they plan to eventually install larger rides, including a roller coaster.

Local residents were happy to hear that some of the historical rides would be kept for future generations to enjoy.

"I think it's going to heal a lot of hearts across the community and across the country for thousands of people whose heartstrings were attached to the Myrtle Beach Pavilion Amusement Park throughout its 50 years," said Jack Thompson, 70, a photographer known for documenting Myrtle Beach's history in pictures. Thompson started his career as a souvenir photographer at the Pavilion.

Other visitors said they were glad to hear of the preservation but that it wouldn't keep them coming back.

"Some of those kiddie rides are classic kiddie rides. I hate to see that it went to Broadway. It isn't really appealing to my family," said Dennis Satterfield of Toney, Ala., who's been coming to Myrtle Beach for three generations.

Satterfield said his family Would visit the Pavilion two or three times during their trips, and they're not sure that they'll be back to visit with it gone.

That isn't the general feeling of most visitors though, said Brad Dean, president of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce.

Dean said surveys and research show the close of the Pavilion has not reduced interest by visitors.

"We didn't expect the closure to have a dramatic impact on overall visitation. Today's announcement will certainly grab attention outside of the market and may prompt some [undecided] visitors to make plans now," he said.

Lisa Jones and her two children are still coming to Myrtle Beach several times a year from Danville, Va.

She's glad the rides will be preserved because maybe her grandchildren one day could ride them.

But she was most excited about larger rides coming to Broadway in the future, since her children are 15 and 12.

"What would really be neat is if they rebuilt the corkscrew," she said.

"Broadway needs more for kids to do, because kids don't necessarily like to shop and they're not ready for the clubs," Jones said.

While many are pleased to hear about the museum, Jones and others say it should have been put in the oceanfront Pavilion building.

"That to me should have been saved and made into a museum," she said.