PAVILION AND MIDWAY.
MYRTLE BEACH, SOUTH CAROLINA
"AMERICA'S FINEST STRAND"
670 Miles South of New York
735 Miles North of Miami
Home of Miss Universe Pageant of South Carolina
OK, today is an anniversary of sorts. Three years ago today was the final day of operation for the Myrtle Beach Pavilion. As it happens, I was there, and made a video essay to share with friends and family. The fact of doing that, and not really having any good forum for something like that was one of the things that started percolating around in my brain and eventually led to establishing Columbia Closings.
Below is the essay pretty much unchanged from how I wrote it then, followed by a lot of still pictures (too many, I'm sure) that I took on that day and earlier in the year:
Last Ride at the Myrtle Beach Pavilion, 30 September 2006
We didn't actually go to the Pavilion that often as kids, so the closing
shouldn't be that big a deal, but we always knew that there was the
possibility that we might go, and that possibility loomed large in our minds.
In the end, Burroughs &
As I happened to be at the beach at the time, I reserved a ticket and took a CVS disposable video camera (as well as my regular film camera, and a disposable film camera) to record some last memories.
This page is devoted to the short videos I shot that day. I have converted the DVD which CVS gives you into an AVI file for each scene. While these files are not huge (except for the all-in-one file), you may not be able to stream them unless you have a fast connection. If clicking your left button on a picture does not start your movie player, or if the clip plays jerkily, I recommend clicking your right button over each picture and selecting "save target as" or the equivalent to download the clips. They should be playable with Windows Media Player on Windows, or "mplayer" on Linux.
We start off on the roof of the Pavilion parking garage, looking out at the roller coaster and other rides:
Moving to the South side of the garage roof, we look down at the lines forming to get into the Pavilion:
Coming off the roof, I took a brief shot of foot traffic on Ocean Blvd, noting the fact that the Pavilion Arcade is already closed:
Collecting my ticket and stepping inside the park, we see some kiddie rides:
More kiddie rides:
The very first thing I ever remember from the Pavilion is this 1905 German Band organ. The second thing I remember is the blow dryer in the restroom. I had never seen such a thing! I only remember Daddy being there on that trip, probably because he would have been the one taking me to the bathroom (which is alongside the organ), but doubtless Momma &
I was disappointed that Sugarbug could not see the organ on her trip to the park, but it was closed for repair at the time. When you consider that it is 102 years old, I suppose that's not surprising. I'm not sure it comes across in these videos, but the organ is loud!
The placards describing the organ claim some of the original cardboard punched music sheets are still used. Somehow I doubt that "Ob La Di Ob La Da" was that popular in 1905!
The only actual ride I remember from that (presumed) first trip to the Pavilion is this boat ride, which I thought was possibly the neatest thing in the world:
No trip to any amusement park would be complete without the Bumper Cars:
My attempt to film while driving a Bumper Car ended quickly when the
attendant stopped the ride. I thought I had broken a rule, but he was
after a kid who was old enough to ride, but not drive:
The swings is a nice ride because it goes around, but not enough to make middle aged stomachs queasy:
I hopped aboard a wooden pig for a ride on the carrousel. While not as old as the band organ, it is pretty old. I noticed that the carrousel music was coming from a sound system and not the antique music box. Perhaps they didn't feel it was worth repairing for the time left. I have no idea what will happen to the carrousel or band organ. It would be a shame if they were left to rot:
The Log Flume is the park's intermediate water ride. More wet than the
"boats", less soaking than the "river ride":
There was a pretty good beach band playing at the amphitheatre. The name escapes me, but they had just finished a very good version of "Carolina Girls" when I started filming. This song was well done, but not one I would call a classic:
I wrestled with whether to ride the big coaster or not. On the one hand, I was coming down with a cold and had something of a headache, on the other hand, I'd never have the chance again. Riding the intermediate coaster "The Mad mouse" decided me I wasn't ready for the big one, but here are some people who were:
Here's another shot of the Carrousel, which was strikingly pretty with
the setting sun glinting off the mirror panels. I like this one a lot; there's so much going on in this shot and some appropriately elegiac music for the last sunset on the working park:
Finally, we finish with the band organ again to take us out:
This is the whole video in one 306 megabyte, 20 minute lump:
After running out of video, I stayed until the end of the day, and rode
the final run of the Bumper Cars. It was somewhat of a melancholy experience, but I'm glad I did it.
Ted, 3 October, 2006
Still pix after the jump..
These were taken at the last time I went with anybody, 6 August 2009:
These are from a black and white set I took the next week on the night of 11 August 2009. Some were by the Pavilion, some were on Ocean Boulevard, and some were from atop the Pavilion parking garage:
These were from a color set taken the same night. I think I had ISO-800 color in my 35mm SLR, and was shooting the black and white on drug-store disposable cameras. Admittedly, the exposure is off in many of these. The girls posing were a birthday girl and her friends who were out having fun and desperately wanted their picture taken:
These pictures are the sets I took on 30 September at the Last Ride celebration. We start on top of The Pavilion parking garage looking down on the crowds waiting to go in, then we go into the park itself:
Finally we move on to night in the park, and the final exit:
And we end with night shots from the top of the garage of what was probably the last night the lights were turned on at the park:
UPDATE 13 October 2009: Added a postcard scan to the top of this post. The card is postmarked May 1960.
UPDATE 16 October 2011 -- Add several "new" pictures below of the Pavilion site from various visits after "Last Ride". Also, change the videos above from direct "avi" files to embedded YouTube versions. This should make streaming more viable than before.
Early January 2007 sees demolition at the ocean-front part of The Pavilion:
13 January 2007 sees continued sea-side demolition, but the roller-coaster is still in place:
19 April 2008 sees both the ocean-front and main Pavilion areas fully demolished and replanted (though still somewhat scruffy):
By 8 October 2010, the Pavilion Parking garage was open again, so I was able to get some elevated shots of the old Pavilion location though the sun was largely against me:
Here are some ground level pictures of the vacant Pavilion lot from 13 January 2011:
UPDATE 3 October 2012 -- The old Pavilion site is now a zip-line. I can see how this makes sense as a way to get some revenue out of the parcel without putting much money into it while waiting for something else to come up..
UPDATE 29 June 2014 -- The German Band Organ has been removed from the Pavilion Nostalgia Park, supposedly due to the sudden realization after 60 years that salt air is bad for it, the Sun News reports. Apparently an indoor venue will be found for it.. eventually.
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