This motel is a landmark which has existed for all of my life, but which I never (in memory) saw until 2006. This motel is on the east side of US-17, just south of Gullie's Shell station, and north of the Georgetown credit union. To say that by 2006 I had driven this stretch of road more than a few times understates it a bit, but I never had the least clue that there were buildings just off the road -- the whole place was so overgrown as to be completely invisible. Apparently the lot was partially cleared late in 2005, and when I was down that winter, I had quite a What the heck did I just drive by? moment as I passed by the first time after that.
Graphitti in a concrete slab at the old office building dates this place to early 1956, and the fixtures all have that mid 50s look as well. In fact, the bathroom tile looks a good bit like what I have at home which is almost exactly the same vintage. I have no idea what happened to the place. It certainly wasn't (and isn't) uncommon for Grand Strand businesses to fail, and the south strand was very isolated and non-commercialized for quite a while. For years the abandoned cabins of another motel sat at the South Causeway of Pawleys Island, more or less where the Food Lion now is. In fact for years, the only motel south of Murrells Inlet was the Quality Inn Seagull -- most people then and now rented houses to vacation in the area.
The whole area is being further cleared now, all the way back to the marsh. I suspect work would have started sooner after the initial clearing of the motel except for the economy. At any rate, I suspect the whole thing will be houses before too long, and I fully expect the motel to be knocked down before the year is out. (I've already got my shower handle, to go with my other one from Douglas.)
If anyone knows what the motel was called, when it closed, or why it closed, sound off!
UPDATE 17 Dec 2010: Please read the comments to this post. It turns out that this motel was part of a black resort dating back to Jim Crow times when black residents (and visitors) had very few options for enjoying a day at the beach. Thankfully those days are gone, but it is very interesting reading.
Also, I have for sale in the store a picture of the motel that I think turned out very well:
UPDATE 23 September 2012 -- Here are some pictures taken in December of 2011. Unfortunately, it was a overcast day, so they are not very vivid. They do however show some of what remains behind the old motel.
As I wrote in the comments below, I can recall at least once, and perhaps twice, being taken by my mother to an old amusement park at the south end of Litchfield Beach. This was probably around 1965 or 1966, and the amusement park was closed for good at the time (and my mother knew that, she just wanted to look around, not take me to ride anything). I remember in particular that there was a small-guage train track laid in a circle (possible around the whole park?) and that at the time the train was still in a shed/station built over the track. I don't think we actually went onto the property, as I just recall seeing it from a distance. I can't help thinking this was what was left of the McKenzie Beach resort. I suppose that after Jim Crow ended, it would have had to compete with Myrtle Beach. I also remember that we drove almost up to the park, so I'm thinking that we were on this road here, which is now (since every street had to be named for 9-1-1 service) called "Old Beach Road".
It does not now go all the way to the beach, but stops about halfway out into the marsh. Here we are looking from the creek bank out into the marsh along the road:
In these two pictures, we are looking back from near the end of the road toward US-17 and the old motel property:
These three pictures show the current end of the road, which kind of peters out by a picturesque tree:
On past the tree are the remains of some sort of structure with poles in the distance marking the remnants of some sort of creek dock or boardwalk (I suppose):
This is looking back through the tree towards US-17:
Approaching US-17 and the creek bank again, the road shifts from a built-up (and timber-retained) bed to just tracks through the dirt. You can see on the left the shell of some old commercial building (a restaurant perhaps?) on the bank of the creek. The next shots get a bit more detail on it. It is pretty much completely open to the air now:
This appears to be an old house. It's on the north-east side of the motel lot, or perhaps it's on the next lot over:
Here is another cinder-block building on the property. I would guess it was some sort of storage or utility building: