Historic Markers Across South Carolina



1948 Myrtle Beach Airport



Marker ID:  
Location: ntersection of Farrow Parkway and South Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach, SC
County: Horry
Coordinates: N 33° 39.718    W 078° 55.673
  33.66196666    -78.92788333
 



Text:

1948 Myrtle Beach Airport


In 1948, the War Assets Administration transferred to the Town of Myrtle Beach the Army Air Base. Since the maintenance and operation of an airport is a year-round proposition, it was easy to see that the town had embarked upon a big venture. When the officials took over the former base, which had cost the Government $5,000,000, Mayor H.W. Tallevast appointed a five-man commission to negotiate with the War Assets Administration for the property, to hire an airport manager, and to take all steps necessary to develop an undertaking where the non-aviation revenue would offset the deficit in the airport operations. The Commission then charged the Airport Manager, E.A. Anthony, with making the Myrtle Beach Airport self-supporting. He adopted a short range program to raise money for the immediate operation and also a long range one to put the airport ultimately on a self-sustaining basis. The Airport Commission began looking at the basic layout map of the installation, blocked into areas, marking those which were to be developed according to their highest and best use. One section of the airfield, originally used for housing troops, was in the southwest corner of the airfield, adjoining several thousand acres of woodland. Soon occupying this tract were three turkey farms, raising approximately 50,000 birds per year. This venture started with skepticism because it was feared that airplanes flying at low altitudes would cause the turkeys to stampede. On the contrary, the turkeys soon became accustomed to aircraft and paid little attention to them.

( photo caption )
A scene on one of three turkey farms, showing a few of the 50,000 birds raised annually on land which once quartered troopd during the war. The turkeys were not disturbed by planes at the airport.

( adjacent marker )
1948 Myrtle Beach Airport

Baseball clubs conducting spring training activities in Florida sparked the idea to go after a baseball training camp for the Myrtle Beach airport, for the hospital area was large enough to accommodate approximately 400 persons, and there was ample space for field training. Most of the major league teams were contacted. Officials of the Cleveland Indians and the Boston Braves made personal inspections of the facilities. After a few months of negotiations, a contract was signed with the Boston Braves to make the airport the training base for the entire farm system. Many baseball officials who visited the site claimed that it was the best and most practical training camp they had examined. A training field was laid out in one large square which was 900 feet on each side. A tower 20 feet high was constructed in the middle of the square. Four ball fields pointed out from the tower. Baseball managers and coaches could sit in the tower and watch four complete ball games in progress simultaneously.

( photo caption )
Part of the airport served as a spring training base for the entire Boston Braves farm system. Four baseball diamonds were grouped around a 20 foot tower designed for coaches and officials to observe the games. Anthony, A. E. Airports and Airways Aero Digest, April 1950

( adjacent marker )
1948 Myrtle Beach Airport

The airport located on United States Highway 17, was a direct route between New York and Miami, approximately halfway between these two points. This initiated another project, a tourist's trailer court. The trailer court boasted a picnic shelter house with two large fireplaces, four oyster bars, writing tables and other conveniences. In addition, there was a shower and laundry room which had ample hot and cold water all year 'round. The Airport Commission was also successful in recruiting small industries to utilize many of the buildings at the airport. The Electrical Reactance Corporation located a plant here. The company made radio condensers and hired approximately 240 women. Among other productive side uses, the airport was also the winter home of two large carnivals. For the next several years, the airport supported commercial flight operations. During this period, the United States saw a need to rebuild its armed forces in the face of the looming threat posed by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and its support of communism in various parts of the world. In planning the buildup, the airport was a candidate to become a major Air Force base. This planning was helped along when the City of Myrtle Beach offered, in 1954, to donate the Municipal Airport and associated real estate to the Air Force. The airport was redesignated Myrtle Beach Air Force Base on April 1, 1954.

( photo caption )
The tourist’s trailer court was shaded by pine and dogwood trees. The court included a picnic shelter house with all of the conveniences. Anthony, A. E. Airports and Airways Aero Digest, April 1950