Five Points' roots go back to early 1900s

Five Points' roots go back to early 1900s

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Much of Myrtle Beach is new, but a slice of history can be seen driving down U.S. 501 toward the beach.

As residents and guests pass through the area referred to as Five Points, they are going through a location whose history dates back 100 years.

The city of Myrtle Beach has an announcement scheduled for 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday in Nance Plaza and WMBF News has heard from several businesses that they have been contacted about selling their buildings to an undisclosed buyer.

Ben Burroughs, director of the Horry County Archives Center at Coastal Carolina University, said Myrtle Beach used to be called "New Town." The moniker was changed when the train depot was built to transport Pine Island lumber workers to the beach.

Housing grew as the city grew, and since residents needed amenities, Five Points and its businesses became the core of Myrtle Beach.

Five Points' proximity to the train depot and the city's first hotel was an advantage, as was it being surrounded by roads coming from different directions with their own neighborhoods.

Burroughs said this helped spur development around it.

"I think it created an identity for Myrtle Beach," he said. "That was the community and put everyone right there together. People who lived there could get what they needed without having to go far. And the people who stayed in the hotel would have things nearby too."

Rik Dickinson, president of Encore Video Productions Incorporated, noted there were no malls back in those days.

"Chapin company across the street had the groceries, had the furniture, had the clothing," he said. "So these all in this block were small businesses needed for every city."

Eventually, a movie theater opened up, where a ticket, a box of popcorn and a drink cost roughly a quarter. Today, Encore Video operates that old theater's space.

"We've been in it about 15 years. (I'm) still happy with the location," Dickinson said.

Dickinson also serves as vice president of the Five Points Business Association. He wants the area to have an eclectic, historic feel.

"I think this - it's just a matter of time - is going to be the place to go in Myrtle Beach," he said. "They'll go to Broadway at the Beach. They'll go to Market Common, but if they want something totally different they'll come here."

With Tuesday's announcement involving the city and the Myrtle Beach Downtown Redevelopment Corporation, Dickinson is hoping he won't hear that anything is being knocked down.

"There's a lot of people here in Myrtle Beach that grew up in this block and went to movies and drug stores," he said. "I don't think they'll (want) the oldest piece of Myrtle Beach to be wiped away."

Historic buildings in Myrtle Beach have been knocked down before to build new ones and Burroughs said several factors contributed to this.

He noted one family had plans to build resort facilities, but financial troubles during the Great Depression hindered that. That was followed by Hurricane Hazel in the 1950s, which knocked down a lot of buildings itself.

Burroughs said he thinks historic preservation and development can both happen.

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