Historic Markers Across South Carolina

Archaeological and Historical Data

Marker ID:  
Location: Warbird Park next to Myrtle Beach International Airport, Myrtle Beach, SC
County: Horry
Coordinates: N 33° 39.663    W 078° 55.72
  33.66105    -78.92866666


Archaeological and Historical Data

Settlers from the Waccamaw Neck attempted to extend their plantations to what was called Long Bay. Many families received land in 1735 just south of the Withers Swash when the colonial government began issuing grants. Independent farmers and fisherman began settling in the area. The farms were small and self-contained. Families that farmed or fished in the area included names such as Todd, Stalvey, Owens, Anderson, King, Simmons and DuBois.

In the nineteenth century, many of the settlers were involved in the naval stores and timber industries. Many farmers who could not afford the taxes offered to sell their property to the timber and turpentine dealers. Many of the dealers including the Burroughs and Collins firm acquired large tracts of land along the coast. In the early part of the 20th century, the company shifted from timber and turpentine to farming.

In 1912, a northern financier by the name of Simeon B. Chapin met with the Burroughs brothers and entered into a partnership which became Myrtle Beach Farms Company. Decades later, on October 16, 1939, the Myrtle Beach Town Council resolved that the town “is in dire need of a modern municipal airport” and agreed to purchase 135 acres for that purpose from Myrtle Beach Farms Company, Inc., at a price of $35 per acre. Two weeks later Council named the soon-to-be-built airport "Harrelson Municipal Airport in recognition of Mayor W. L. Harrelson's support of the project.

Lewis, Catherine H., Horry County, South Carolina 1730 – 1993, University of South Carolina Press, 1998

City of Myrtle Beach Mayor W. L. Harrelson

( adjacent marker )
Archaeological and Historical Data

This area has a rich history, including the many different land uses along the coastal strand from the prehistoric period into the 21st century.

An archaeological study of the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base conducted in the 1980s by Carolina Archaeological Services (now AF Consultants) of Columbia, South Carolina, found the earliest settlers included Early to Middle Woodland prehistoric Indian campsites (about 3,000 years ago) and tenant farms (about 130 years ago) and military occupations.

History tells us that the Spanish explorer Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon explored the South Carolina coast in the sixteenth century. About 150 years later, English settlers found their way to the Carolina coast where the Waccamaw, Pee Dee, Winyah, Socastee, Wampee and Waccawache native Americans lived. Less than a century after the arrival of the European settlers, the native American tribes disappeared.

Painting by Martin Pate, Newnan, GA (www.pateart.com)
Courtesy Southeast Archeological Center, National Park Service