Some places will always hold a special place in your memories. Myrtle Beach is one such place for me. You are probably wondering what’s the connection between the Myrtle Beach Train Station and Berwick RailFan Photo Gallery? Why my interest in the old depot? Taking a chance at something new, in February 2000, Nicole and I started our new life together, packing up our belongings and moving to Myrtle Beach together. We had a small 2-bedroom apartment 3 blocks from the beach. When I would pull out of our driveway to head to work, I could see beautiful blue ocean only a short distance away. I worked for the local newspaper and Nicole worked for a local entertainment publication. La Belle Amie Vineyard in North Myrtle Beach Myrtle Beach, one of our favorite place to visit is where we got engaged. A year later we were married bare-foot in the sand on the beach. Two years after we moved to Myrtle Beach I was transferred to another newspaper and our time at the Beach was over. Myrtle beach will always have a special place in my heart and we return often to visit, and hopefully someday we might relocate lack down to the south. I’ve always had an interest in local railroad history, so it was only natural for me to have an appreciation of the old railroad depot. Whenever we go back, which is about every year, I always make a point to stop in to visit my old friend and grab a few photos.
A Brief History of the Myrtle Beach Train Station – Built in 1937, the original ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Myrtle Beach Train Depot was May 6, 1937, the year before Myrtle Beach officially became a town. Atlantic Coastline Railroad (ACL) and Myrtle Beach Farms Company entered a land exchange in which the Myrtle Beach Farms Company was responsible for constructing the new depot and then relinquishing ownership to the railroad. The new Depot provided a much-needed transportation link between the mainland and the beach.
This one-story rectangular building was constructed with the standard ACL bi-level floor plan that has a raised freight room with steps leading down to the lobby/office area. However, the exterior architectural detailing, reflecting Colonial Revival, Craftsman, and Mission stylistic influences, is much more elaborate than other ACL Railroad stations in the south. The station has a hipped roof, brick bearing walls, a stepped parapet roof in the square bay, nine-over-nine windows, concrete sills, a decorative belt course above the windows, scroll-sawn rafter ends and a large roof overhang with open eaves.
For the next three decades, the Depot served as the city’s activity hub, welcoming passenger trains full of vacationing families and boxcars full of supplies and building materials. In 1967, with train travel waning, Atlantic Coastline Railroad sold the Depot and 1.25 acres to a beverage distributor, which constructed offices and warehouses on the site. These new buildings blocked the view of the Depot from main roads. The company also removed an exterior freight dock from the Depot and replaced it with an enclosed two-bay maintenance garage for trucks. The remainder of the building was used for storage and warehousing. In 2001, the garage was successfully removed, and, on July 22, 2002, the Myrtle Beach Train Depot was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
On June 2001 the Carolina Southern Railroad hosted an inaugural run from Conway to Myrtle Beach, the first time in over fourteen years a train had traversed the line. Lead by Carolina Southern Locomotive No. 100, a GP18, four passenger cars hauled members of local government, media and community between the two communities.
Finally, on May 6, 2004, the All Aboard Committee cut the ribbon on the newly restored Myrtle Beach Train Depot, 67 years to the day after the original opening ceremonies. In 2005, the Myrtle Beach Train Depot received the South Carolina Historic Preservation Honor Award from the S.C. Department of Archives and History.
In the summer of 2016 the city of Myrtle Beach acquired two new additions to the station, an old 53-foot box car and a bay window caboose. The caboose which was in Hamlet, North Carolina, was donated by CSX Transportation. As of the summer of 2018 both have been repainted. The next step will be to build a foundation for the cars near the Train Depot and then connect them with decking to the depot. The new additions will offer a kitchen and meeting room, with added storage, for those who utilize the Train Depot during different events. I’m looking forward to our next trip back to Myrtle Beach to see the new additions to the station.
And last a look at some of the older historic photos of the Myrtle Beach Depot I have in my collection.
Of course what kind of visit to Myrtle Beach would it be without stopping at the Beach?