Bob Bestler

Town will live through next storm

Many of you know the story.

In 1989, when Hurricane Hugo hit Charleston head-on, homes and communities north of Charleston were hit at least as hard or harder.

None were hit as hard as McClellanville, located about 30 miles north of Charleston and 20 miles south of Georgetown.

The storm swept boats up out of McClellanville's Jeremy Creek and into yards.

It destroyed many homes and upended the lives of several families.

I was already working for The Sun News at the time, and I still believe the most harrowing story we published in the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo came from McClellanville.

It told the nightmarish story of a family that was able to survive the storm only because the mother tied herself and her two children to a tree to keep from being swept away in surging water and 130 mile-an-hour winds.

A visit to the little fishing village a week later demonstrated the devastation.

Several good people from the Grand Strand loaned their time and talent to rebuilding some of the destroyed homes.

In those first weeks after the storm the sound of saws and hammers could be heard everywhere.

I mention all of this because of the various comments my wife and I have heard since buying a 1-acre lot in historical McClellanville and building a home there.

We have been reminded, over and over by well-meaning friends and acquaintances, that McClellanville had been hit hard by Hugo.

Did we know that?

Yes, we knew that, we say. We knew, we knew.

Hugo also hit Charleston. And Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach.

It tossed Garden City Beach homes two blocks inland.

It sliced Pawleys Island in two.

It was a terrible storm, but life goes on.

The fact is that the tree-lined fishing village of McClellanville, while maintaining its small-town quality - I tell people it's like moving back to the 1950s - now has rigid building codes that are strictly enforced.

Our own home is on a cement foundation and built on 10-foot piers. It has been constructed to withstand the worst storms and is further fortified by hurricane shutters.

We've been moving in this week, and while we don't welcome another hurricane, we'll be ready.

So don't worry about us. McClellanville has been around for 300 years. We expect it to be around for at least 300 more.