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A walk down memory lane: views of Myrtle Beach through the decades

A monster-themed wax museum, an 11-acre amusement park and a large bingo parlor all once lined Ocean Boulevard — but have since been either demolished or replaced, with nothing but old pictures left to evoke feelings of nostalgia.

Have you ever wondered what Myrtle Beach was like through the decades? Here’s a look back at our community many years ago.

Early 1900’s

Before Myrtle Beach was ever a city, or an incorporated area, the community was once called “New Town” before the 1900s, according to Visit Myrtle Beach.

The area’s first hotel, the Seaside Inn, was located on 8th Avenue North and built in 1901. The picture shows it named the “Carolina Hotel,” one of several names the building had over the years, according to Wayne Aiken and his site Myrtle Beach Remembered.

The community’s first pavilion was built in 1908, part of the Seaside Inn’s property.

Opened in 1930, the Ocean Forest Hotel was the beach’s first big, first-class hotel. Before it was demolished in 1974, it was reportedly the most luxurious hotel on the east coast between Florida and New Jersey.

One of the hotel’s famous guests was American mobster Al Capone, according to Aiken.

After the original pavilion burned down in 1920, it was replaced by a larger oceanfront pavilion which opened in 1923.

According to MyrtleBeach.com, the second pavilion was built on the corner of 8th Avenue North and Ocean Boulevard and featured a bowling alley, a .22-caliber shooting gallery and an area for dining and dancing. It burned down on Dec. 28, 1944.

The 40s and 50s

Formally named the Myrtle Beach Pavilion, it was the last pavilion constructed on that site. It opened in 1949 and had a large wooden dance floor located on the second floor along with a stage, MyrtleBeach.com notes.

The pavilion closed to the public in September of 2006 and was demolished in 2007.

After years of vacancy, some areas of the lot were developed, and now a zip-line attraction is there along and several events such as the Carolina Country Music Festival have been held on the former site.

The Myrtle Beach Pavilion Amusement Park was built in 1948 when Myrtle Beach Farms signed an agreement with a traveling carnival that was in town for the Conway Tobacco Festival, according to MyrtleBeach.com.

It was an 11-acre park and featured many attractions including a German Baden-Band Organ, rollercoasters, and the popular Herschell-Sillman Carousel, which was built in 1912.

The carousel was eventually moved to Broadway at the Beach and is still in operation today.

The popular Sloppy Joe’s Bingo and Cafe opened in the 1950s. It was open 24/7 and served breakfast at any time, Aiken wrote.

It was located at 901 North Ocean Boulevard, where Ripley’s Believe-It-or-Not now stands.

The 60s and 70s

It is unclear whether or not the above photo is from the 50s or 60s, but it shows lifeguards from Coasters Beach Service watching over beachgoers.

The beach service provided floats and umbrellas to visitors.

You can also see part of the boardwalk with the Gay Dolphin Gift Cove in the background, which has been open since 1946, according to the shop’s website.

Family Kingdom Amusement Park has been around since 1966 and is still open today. It was originally named "Grand Strand Amusement Park.”

It shut down for two years after Hurricane Hugo damaged the park in 1989.

At 200 feet tall, the Astro Needle opened to the public in 1970, according to Aiken.

The attraction was located along 8th Avenue North, and was a rotating ride that gave you 360 degree views of Myrtle Beach.

Castle Dracula Wax Museum, a scary monster-themed attraction, once was on Ocean Boulevard. The front of the castle had a moat and drawbridges, Aiken explained on his website.

It burned down in 1975, but was quickly rebuilt then closed in the summer of 1982.

Myrtle Square Mall, the area’s first mall, opened in 1975 and was located along Highway 17 near the Convention Center, according to Myrtle Beach Remembered.

It was demolished in 2006.

Michaela Broyles: 843-626-0281, @MichaelaBroyles

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