Pawleys Island monument survives; island on the road to recovery

Pawleys Island monument survives; island on the road to recovery

PAWLEYS ISLAND, SC (WMBF) - Almost a week ago, the Grand Strand lost Surfside Pier, Springmaid Pier, the monumental Palace Theatre was damaged and of course countless homes were impacted.  People across the region are still suffering from flooding. However, on Pawleys Island, people are finding comfort knowing the heart of the island has survived yet another hurricane.

Pawleys Island Chapel has been on the island's marsh since 1946. The chapel has survived it's third major hurricane.  It made it through Hurricane Hazel, was damaged by Hugo and now is recovering from Matthew.

"I think there's power to be said that are helping it survive. You know, there's a reason for it to still be here," Betsy Altman, partner in Pawleys Island Realty, said.  The company owns the chapel as well as numerous homes on the island.

"I'm hoping it will continue to stay there because it's built on pilings over the water.  And we just want to do whatever we can to keep it and have many generations get to use it," Altman said. "I think the pianos probably ruined…and the sound system is ruined. But we're hoping to save the chairs and the carpet,' she continued.

Altman also said the hymnals will have to be replaced and roof leaks repaired.  A crew is working now to repair what they can.  Altman said a wedding was scheduled for Saturday, but had to be moved.

Unlike the rest of the island, the chapel seems untouched on the outside.

A home fire, flooding, no power, and a storm surge left a lot of high water marks behind and sand in the streets.  Spring Ave. re-opened Thursday night, according to Pawleys Island Police Department.

The National Guard is still on the island to help clear roads, and Midway Fire Rescue has checked in on homes.  

Altman said the hurricane hasn't stopped many people from wanting to get here soon for vacation.

"You have to go house by house, and you know, see what we can do.  We still have vacationers that are trying to check in tomorrow and Saturday and we're trying to see what we can safely rent and get them in there as soon as possible to make sure there's minimum income loss to the owners but its got to be a safe place," she said.

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