The south side of the Fitzgerald Motel near the site of Charlie’s Place have been demolished.
Myrtle Beach spokesman Mark Kruea said the rooms were torn down Tuesday at a cost of $14,850. The motel, sometimes also called Whispering Pines, was a respite for musical acts such as Little Richard in the middle of the 20th century. At the time, Carver Street, the road the motel sits on, was a mecca for black entertainers.
Myrtle Beach Councilman Mike Chestnut said the plan is to restore some of the remaining rooms at Fitzgerald Motel and create spaces for small businesses in others.
“What Herbert (Riley) and the (Carver Street Economic Renaissance Corp.) is talking about is how do we take some of the other rooms and go in there and knock out some walls … and make some kind of littler areas where small businesses would open up,” Chestnut said.
Riley, the head of the Carver Street group, said the central building on the property will be turned into a music museum to commemorate the high-profile acts that “came there, stayed there, played there and partied there.”
The three preserved hotel rooms on the north side will each represent a different era of the motel’s decor — one the 1940s, one the 50s and one the 60s, Riley said.
In April, the city held a ceremony commemorating the demolition of the motel, but Riley said Chestnut was integral in stopping that demolition.
“He stopped the destruction of our history,” Riley said.
Since then, Riley said he’d met with council members and struck informal agreements that the north side of the motel and the central building would remain standing. Demolishing the south side will open up the land for other uses, he said.
In the future, Riley said the open land near the motel and the land where Charlie’s Place, a supper club and musical venue, used to stand could be a “springboard” for some new businesses and could include an outdoor performance venue.
Charlie’s Place was demolished decades ago. It also was owned by Charlie Fitzgerald and hosted the likes of Billie Holiday and Marvin Gaye.
The neighborhood the motel resides in, called Booker T. Washington, was racially segregated by law at the time.