A look back: How have piers along the Grand Strand survived hurricanes?

Aftermath of Springmaid Pier from Hurricane Matthew

Residents discuss the destruction of the Springfield Pier after Hurricane Matthew came through Myrtle Beach.
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Residents discuss the destruction of the Springfield Pier after Hurricane Matthew came through Myrtle Beach.

Boards line the windows in what was formerly the bait and tackle shop that welcomed guests to the Springmaid Pier. Locked gates stop people from walking onto what was once a bustling pier.

Despite the threat of incoming Hurricane Florence, several families walked the beach taking photos of what is left of the pier that was destroyed by Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

Hurricane Matthew made landfall in Myrtle Beach and destroyed part of Springmaid Pier near North Ocean Boulevard. Parts of Second Avenue Pier and Surfside Pier are also gone.

With a Category 1 hurricane hitting the southern North Carolina coast, people remembered Springmaid Pier and the six piers that are left standing.

“It’s sad seeing that because it was sentimental to everyone,” said local resident Samantha Sickafoose. “I feel like it has so many memories for people. I remember watching fireworks from it on the Fourth of July.”

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In North Myrtle Beach, the Cherry Grove Pier is a popular fishing destination. In 1989, the pier was destroyed by Hurricane Hugo, which hit the South Carolina coast as a Category 4 storm, leaving destruction across the state.

According to the Cherry Grove Pier website, the pier was rebuilt with a two-story observation deck. However, when Hurricane Floyd swept through the area in 1999, the deck was ripped off the pier and was found 1,000 yards down the beach, the site says.

Other piers in the area include the Apache Family Campground Pier, Pier 14, Second Avenue Pier, the Myrtle Beach State Park Pier and the Pier at Garden City.

Despite limited talks of rebuilding the Springmaid Pier, Dorthy Taylor hopes there will be movement on it in the future.

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“I miss the old-time feel,” Taylor said, remembering the swing that once sat on the pier. “We used to sit here and you could grab a burger and a drink for $5.”

After Springmaid fell, piles of wood were pushed onto the sand as waves crashed ashore. Few people lingered at the site, watching the aftermath of the destruction. The next day, several people sneaked onto the beach to steal pieces of wood to hang as a sentimental memory of the pier.

It wasn’t the only one damaged by Hurricane Matthew. In Surfside Beach, the pier fell, leaving the town without a focal point. Over the past year, officials have worked to rebuild the pier.

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Plans for a new concrete structure have been approved, as well as nearly $9 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“I honestly think they’ll be fine,” Sickafoose said. “Anything could happen.”

Follow more of our reporting on Hurricane Florence

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