The man whose architecture produced some of Myrtle Beach’s most iconic structures passed away Tuesday.
Thomas Pegram – whose most recent blueprint for a structure that has become a Myrtle Beach icon was the SkyWheel in 2011 – passed away Tuesday in his home at the age of 86.
Born Dec. 21, 1930, the Myrtle Beach business owner was founder and owner of Pegram Associates, Inc., which contributed to many iconic structures in Myrtle Beach.
“Tom was a great architect,” said Myrtle Beach mayor John Rhodes. “His stamp is on a lot of structures in this city.”
Pegram founded his business in 1985 and contributed to many structures in Myrtle Beach, including Broadway at the Beach in 1995, The Alabama Theatre in 1993 and The Carolina Opry in 1986.
Pegram Associates, Inc. was approached about the design of the SkyWheel in 2010. The Sun News reported that year that the SkyWheel was the first design of its kind by the company.
“This is our first wheel project, “ James Hubbard of Pegram and Associates said in the 2010 article. “But we do a lot of theater and amusements, and the challenges are the same. You’re moving a lot of people, and it’s about handling them in such a way that they really enjoy the experience and tell their friends. Being near the ocean will make the whole experience unique.”
Pegram is also known for his work on Pirates Voyage, originally built as the Dixie Stampede, and many hotels along the oceanfront including the Crown Reef Resort and the Dunes Village Resort.
“He was probably the most renowned architect of Myrtle Beach,” said Dennis Springs, a partner at Pegram Associates, Inc. who worked with Pegram for over 30 years.
Pegram is also known for working with business leaders and city officials to make their visions a reality.
“He was a gracious, humble and optimistic leader who was recognized for consistently having kind words for everyone,” president and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce Brad Dean said in a press release. “He was a great collaborator. His years of dedication to the work he genuinely loved certainly helped transform the Myrtle Beach area into the great tourism destination it is today.”
Rhodes said Pegram was dedicated to Myrtle Beach and cared about the direction that his architectural designs would take the city.
On top of helping to make Myrtle Beach the city it is today, Pegram leaves behind a legacy for more than just his work, Rhodes said.
“This town is going to miss Tom as a person, a gentleman and an architect,” said Rhodes. “When you lose someone … it leaves a big hole, not only as a supporter but in Myrtle Beach.
“He’s going to be greatly missed,” said Springs. “It’s a great loss for the city.”
Funeral arrangements have not been completed and will be announced by McMillan-Small Funeral Home when the details are decided.