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North Myrtle Beach Times â€" thirty five years of service â€" by Jim Hulen

February 20, 2006 - Within three years, two historical events occurred in the North Strand. Just a few years after the City of North Myrtle Beach was incorporated from the four separate cities of Windy Hill, Crescent Beach, Ocean Drive and Cherry Grove, the North Myrtle Beach Times was founded.

From the very beginning, the North Myrtle Beach Times Newspaper set its purpose and meaning within the community. The Time's first editorial headline read, "SO YOU WANT A NEWSPAPER. The editorial read, "So you call yourself a city, four old neighbors fused into one. You've got a local government, a mayor, city council, police force, fire station and rescue squad. You elect them and pay their salaries. How do you know if they are governing you properly? ..... So you want a newspaper, an instrument of communication dedicated to informing you of the truth of what's going on in North Myrtle Beach. And ....POOF.... that materializes for you like magic.
Thirty-five years later, the North Myrtle Beach Times Newspaper is still here and still caring about the North Strand Community. The community returns the affection, viewing the Times as their "hometown" neighbor trusted for credible, honest reporting with a focus upon the issues important to them.

Owner, publisher and Managing Editor, Pauline (Polly) L. Lowman founded the paper. Eleven years later, in 1982, Lowman was elected the first woman President of the South Carolina Press Association in its 107 year history. Established in 1875, the South Carolina Press Association represents and serves the daily and weekly newspapers of South Carolina.

The daily happenings within the City of North Myrtle Beach were faithfully reported in the North Myrtle Beach Times since its inception. The history of the City and its antecedent communities were recorded in a special edition, published in March 1993, of the North Myrtle Beach Times celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the City of North Myrtle Beach.

Pictures and stories recount the debate among the Mayors and Council of Ocean Drive, Windy Hill, Cherry Grove and Crescent Beach. The decision didn't come easily. It had been tried and failed, once before, so everyone involved had to work hard to sell the people. In that issue, Charlie Byers, a Windy Hill Councilman, is quoted as saying, "We were each of us just too small to have our own police and fire departments and have them run efficiently. We needed to be a larger city."

The North Myrtle Beach Times witnessed a major change in transportation when it took place. Most of us take the "fixed bridge" over the waterway for granted, but it would be three years after North Myrtle Beach was incorporated and the year the North Myrtle Beach Times published their first issue that the bridge would be opened for service. Prior to that, the community was dependent upon the Little River swing bridge or traveling south to Hwy 501 to cross the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. The North Myrtle Beach Times celebrated its opening with headlines and photographs.

The North Myrtle Beach Times was there in the good times and the bad. When Hurricane David hit the North Myrtle Beach area on September 5, 1979, with strong winds and rain, the Times Newspaper reporters were recording the devastating fires caused by the storm and fanned by the high winds and the destruction in the community.

Hurricane Diana hit the area on September 17, 1984. Amidst the storm, your North Myrtle Beach Times reporters were covering the destruction â€" the blown out windows of local hotels, entire rows of buildings without roofs, century-old live oaks twisted to the point that only photographs could properly describe them, destroyed homes and fallen signs. Headlines in the Times would call this "the Storm of the Century."

The news covered by the Times wasn't all bad news, sometimes it was sad and curious. In 1986, one hundred thousand people visited the horseshoe at the end of Main Street to view an 18-ton whale beached on the sand. Times' reporters covered the attempts to save the whale, wetting it down and setting up barricades to control the crowds. Despite the best efforts of the city staff and the State Wildlife Department, the whale eventually died and was loaded upon a flatbed truck for transport to the waste disposal facility.

Many times the Times Newspaper covered the generosity of our citizens and showcased them. Charles Tilghman, for example, was instrumental in locating and building Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church, donated land for other churches, the Horry County Library on Second Avenue North and many school properties.

When the Elbert Jordan family came here, there were only four houses in Crescent Beach, all on the oceanfront between 17th and 18th avenue south. They sold the highway filling station they owned and moved to the second row, where the Jordan Realty Company first began in 1938. The office was the front porch of their house. They had the first telephone in Crescent Beach. People would go sit on the porch to use the telephone. Elbert and his sister, Edna Jordan Waters, gave the land to build the first Methodist Church. When the consolidation of the cities forming North Myrtle Beach was started, Elbert Jordan was president of the Grand Strand Board of Realtors and was the driving force that brought it all together.

In the late 1940s, citizens thought it would be nice to build a new Presbyterian church, so worshippers didn't have to meet at the drug store. Sarah and A.F. Mclean gave the land for the Ocean Drive Presbyterian Church. After A.F.'s death, Sarah became a major benefactor to many worthwhile causes. She gave land for the First Baptist Church, McLean Park, a jail and the rescue squad building. She donated some 200 lots of land, over time, to many worthwhile causes.

The North Myrtle Beach Times recorded the visits of notables from Senators to Presidents. The first president to visit was President Jimmy Carter, in September 1974. The only other visit was President George Bush (the elder) during his term as president. Both visits were reported by the North Myrtle Beach Times with interviews and pictures of local officials with the Presidents.

The Times covered many local controversies. In 1985, the big, hottest issue was whether the beaches should be open to driving. Dick Blackburn was the Co-Chairman leading the effort to keep the beaches available for citizens and visitors to drive their vehicles on the beach. Their slogan was "There's Room Enough for Everyone!!!" The referendum was turned down by the voters and vehicles' driving on the beach was prohibited.

The Newspaper also covered activities that form the character of the community. Shagging and beach music are among those that shape the personality of North Myrtle Beach. Everything revolved around the dancers and their music. The Times quoted Norfleet Jones, at that time owner of Ducks and Ducks Too, as saying" I wasn't born a shagger but feel like I was." Jones, who found beach music and the shag in the mid-1950s, has been in awe of the dance ever since.

Jones spent the summer learning. He practiced at home, in front of a mirror. When he felt he was ready, he danced. "The friendships formed through a mutual enjoyment of the music and the dancing has endured through all this years," Jones said. "A handful of us could always be found in a corner, reminiscing, comparing steps and discussing the changing face of the music and the dance."

The North Myrtle Beach Times proudly reported on the growth and history of businesses within the community. In March of the same year of the Times' first issue, the Village of the Barefoot Traders began operations. Three and on-half acres of shops, trees, rivers and Louis Lake surrounded the Village.

In 1987, the North Myrtle Beach shopping area consolidated under a single owner and evolved into Barefoot Landing, one of South Carolina's most impressive tourist destinations. Built around a 27-acre freshwater lake, Barefoot Landing features over 100 specialty and retail shops, factory direct stores and restaurants. Entertainment within Barefoot runs strong. A carousel, Alabama Theatre, House of Blues and Alligator Adventure, one of the largest reptile zoos in the world, provide a plethora of activity for both tourists and locals alike. South Carolina's Parks, Recreation and Tourism department named the area South Carolina's most popular tourism attraction for three years in a row. Local residents have voted Barefoot Landing as "The best of the beach...the best place to take out-of-towners."

Frank Boulineau's family opened its first grocery store in 1948 in the Cherry Grove section of what would become North Myrtle Beach. The North Myrtle Beach Times has chronicled the growth from that first grocery store to the rebuilding after Hazel in 1954, the addition of 8,400 square feet in 1969, two thousand four hundred square feet in 1973 and in 1977, the building of a restaurant, laundromat and a unique nautical gift shop adjacent to the grocery.

The store expanded several times throughout the years. In 1986, a major expansion was undertaken to double the size of the store to 50,000 square feet. The complex was expanded again in 1994. A Shell gas station, food mart and car were added. By 1995, the Boulineau family opened the True Value hardware store located between the Food Store and the Shell gas station.

The last expansion was in 1998, when an additional 30,000 square feet was added to the main store. The store now features 80,000 square feet of shopping, including many specialty departments, a cafeteria and a food court on two floors connected by glass elevators.

Fun and Festivals are an integral part of the character of North Myrtle Beach. The Times Newspaper can always be counted on to alert visitors and locals when they are taking place and providing a pictorial record of the fun. Last year, The 23 Annual Winter Run started the festivities in January; followed by the annual Winter Parrot-Head festival in February; during March, the St. Patrick's Day Parade and Festival, Canadian-American Days and the Easter Egg Hunt takes place; in April, the Monday After the Masters Hootie and the Blowfish Charity Golf Tournament,
S.O.S Spring Safari Festival and Parade; the month of May hosts the Little River Crab Festival, the Harley Davidson Bike Rally, the Atlantic Beach Bike Rally, the Dixie Chicken Fishing Fundament, and the Flounder Frenzy; June is the month of the Sun Fun Festival, the Family Festival at the Sea, and the North Myrtle Beach Gospel Fest; July, is of course, focused on Fourth of July activities but also includes Junior S.O.S. activities and the Summer Parrot-Head Festival; August is the month of Jazz Festivals and Golf Tournaments; September sees The World Amateur Handicap Golf Tournament, the Endless Summer Festival, The Red, White and Blue Ball and Labor Day festivities; during October, visitors and locals enjoy the Irish-Italian Festival, the Fall Bike Rally, and The United States Pro Mini Golf Association's Masters 2005, the Little River Shrimp and Jazz Festival, and Halloween actives; November hosts the Taste of Restaurant Row, and many events related to Thanksgiving; December closed out the year with the Annual Christmas Parade, the All-city Christmas Cantata.

Many more activities that cannot possibly be listed are covered by the North Myrtle Times. Not all activities listed above are always held the same months. Please check the calendar on NorthMyrtleBeachONLINE.com to verify events that will be held this coming year.

True to its first editorial, the North Myrtle Beach Times has followed the governing leadership of the city …."How do you know if they are governing you properly























"We live here. We care what happens in and to this community." The true test of a newspaper is the quality of the information it provides to its readers. Articles in the North Myrtle Beach Times empower, the reader, to shape and influence the future of our community. The Times' goal is to have readers informed on local issues to prepare them to continually ask questions and recognize an issue before it becomes a problem.

Do your part, pick up a copy at any convenient newspaper stand, or subscribe to the North Myrtle Beach Times by calling (843) 249-3525 or by e-mail at nmbtimes@sc.rr.com.


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