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Strand Notebook | Thompson to share Myrtle Beach-area history collected in his photographs

Long-time Myrtle Beach photographer Jack Thompson looks out a window at 503 Ninth Ave. N., across Nance Plaza at the old Pavilion site, reflected in the glass, where he once had a studio. All of Thompson’s studios have been within a short distance of this location, “I just can’t get away from this corner,” he said.
Long-time Myrtle Beach photographer Jack Thompson looks out a window at 503 Ninth Ave. N., across Nance Plaza at the old Pavilion site, reflected in the glass, where he once had a studio. All of Thompson’s studios have been within a short distance of this location, “I just can’t get away from this corner,” he said. The Sun News file

If you say “Myrtle Beach history” and “photographs” together, chances are someone will mention Jack Thompson. Having taken thousands of photographs of Myrtle Beach and the surrounding areas since the early 1950s, cataloging and maintaining them, he has become a historian of a rare kind.

Thompson will deliver a presentation titled “The History of Myrtle Beach Through Photographs” at the Horry County Museum’s McCown Auditorium Saturday at 1 p.m. Admission is free. The museum is at 805 Main St. in Conway.

Many places have changed dramatically in those years, but chances are, he knows what was there before and can show you a photograph to prove it.

Along with his memories, his continuing collection of photographs provides a unique look into the area, its people and the people who have visited over many years.

A room at the museum features only Thompson’s photographs, and many people who visit the museum can be seen there reliving memories or trying to find themselves, their cars or someone they know in them.

In 2006, Thompson was awarded the honorary degree Doctor of Fine Arts from Coastal Carolina University.

The following information is from the CCU website. “Jack Thompson began taking pictures of Myrtle Beach in 1951 when he was 13. He is considered the keeper of the Grand Strand’s photographic history. A sample of his extensive pictorial collection is documented in his most recent book, “Memories of Myrtle Beach.”

“Thompson, who grew up in Greenville, graduated with honors from Myrtle Beach High School in 1957. He went on to found Myrtle Beach’s first news magazine, ‘Insight Into the Grand Strand,’ followed by the area’s debut golf magazine, Grand Strand Golfer. Other books he wrote and photographed included ‘Reflections in Time’ and ‘Growing Up with Shoeless Joe,’ co-authored with his brother. He has held numerous exhibitions of his work, including ‘Photographic Reflections of Old Myrtle Beach’ at Coastal Carolina University’s Rebecca Randall Bryan Art Gallery. He chaired the All Aboard Committee, credited with restoring the old Myrtle Beach Train Depot.

Thompson works from his downtown studio, Jack Thompson Studios in Myrtle Beach.”

Thompson continues to get called upon for his input into local history projects, and his photographs most always add to them, including recent projects on the legendary Charlie’s Place on Carver Street, where a group is now working to create a museum to highlight the history of black music in Myrtle Beach.

A great deal of information about Thompson and his photography can be found on the Internet. Jack Thompson Photography Studio is at 503 Ninth Ave. N. in Myrtle Beach.

Contact PEGGY MISHOE at pegmish@sccoast.net or 365-3885.

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