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The Last Open-Air Beach Music & Shag Pavilion

World Famous - Where It All Began !  


The Many Lives of the Ocean Drive Pavilion


The picture with fish in the top corners is Roberts Pavilion at 2 years of age in 1938

The first pavilion at Ocean Drive opened the first week of June 1926.  The Horry Herald made first mention of it May 20th in a story about the activities of Ocean Drive Estates, a company from Florence, SC that was selling lots it divided up from tracts bought in March and April from the Case and Edge families.  According to the May 20th story, "....materials for a large pavilion and bath house are being assembled."       

On June 17th Ocean Drive Estates ran an ad in the Horry Herald promoting their development as the only one on the Atlantic Ocean with 15 advantages found nowhere else, including a Dance Pavilion, Bath House, Artesian Water, Gasoline Filling Station, a large 50-room hotel under construction, a spacious park, a proposed salt water swimming pool, saw mills to furnish building lumber, boating, good fishing, crabs-shrimps-oysters, plenty of game, and a safe strand for surf-bathing and automobile racing.      

Belle Edge, part of the Edge family who sold tracts to Ocean Drive Estates a year earlier, paid $10 each for two lots from Ocean Drive estates on May 14, 1927 which must have included the new pavilion--family histories said she bought it "around 1928."  Four days later the Horry Herald announced that the Guaranty Realty Company of Asheville had taken over sales and development of Ocean Drive Estates, bussing in visitors from all parts of North and South Carolina (an early form of 'timeshare' sales?).  Guaranty Realty noted they were renovating the Ocean Drive Hotel for a May 15th opening.  A story in the Florence News Review described the hotel as having 80 beds, a 16-foot boardwalk for promenaders with the aim of extending it up to two miles from one end of the development to the other.  By then they were using Pullman busses to bring in visitors from Virginia as well as the Carolinas.      

In the summer of 1928 the Colonial Orchestra of Florence was hired to furnish entertainment for the season for the hotel and its hardwood-floored pavilion.  The hotel's 65 guest rooms were to be complemented soon by 25 additional cottages for rent.      

The original Ocean Drive Drive Estates / Edge pavilion has been described as "square, one-room, wood-frame, hardwood floors, wrap-around porch, and shuttered windows.  Nearby was a drink stand with a wrap-around porch.  A boardwalk ran from the pavilion toward the beach, and their were two bath houses next to the pavilion."      

Belle had Dwight Case manage the pavilion in 1930 and 1931.  He booked orchestras, some from Chadbourne and Florence, there during the summers and had preaching on Sunday nights. Among the preachers was Mr. Cashwell from Gastonia.  Dwight hired a Negro band from Myrtle Beach to play there once.  He also moved the piano out of the family home to the pavilion for those who might want to play and he held an occasional square dance there.    

An admission was charged for the dances, but many people drove from miles, sat on the pavilion porch and listened "for free."  (Early 'Napsters' trying to get music for nothing).  Some people watched the bands and dancers through the open windows.  There was a rush on the soft drink stand during intermission and many strolled the boardwalk.      

Belle was busy up the street in a boarding house she had taken over and where she opened Ocean Drive's first cafe downstairs in what had been a garage.  Although no longer standing today, it was located across the street from where Hoskin's cafe stands today.      

Dwight eventually opened two versions of Case's Place, novelties and gift shops, one on what is now Main Street on the West side of Hardwick's Cafeteria (now Duffy's Seafood) and another on Highway 17 next to where Dick's Pawn Shop now stands.      

In May of 1938, after Roberts Pavilion had been built, Belle leased her pavilion and drink stand to a man who remodeled it and changed it into a skating rink.  He skipped town the second year of the lease.  After several years Belle had the pavilion and drink stand torn down and leased the property to an amusement company (see pictures of the amusement park next to Roberts and the later concrete pavilion).  Early pictures of Roberts show a variety of structures on its South Side.  There was a bowling alley and others.  Was one of them the original pavilion?      

Belle moved the two bath houses across the street.  Once became a grocery store and the other Ocean Drive's first hardware store operated by Purley Edge.  After a few years they were moved off the corner and Belle leased the corner to the new owner of the Beach Shop.

The picture with a guard post between Robert's and the beach is World War II vintage, placed there to watch for submarines.  Fat Harold Bessent says he had his first notable romantic encounter there.  It was taken between May 30, 1942 when the Douglas McArthur Hotel to the right of the guard post opened, and 1945 when the picture was published.  The corner of the Ocean Drive Hotel is between the Pavilion and the guard post. See the 'Loris' postcard? 

Ain't no beach in Loris!  There was a mix-up when this postcard was made.  Tom Roberts, pavilion builder, was from Loris (top left on the steps).



Historical Marker
Roberts Pavilion / Ocean Drive Pavilion

Roberts Pavilion 1836–1954

The Roberts Pavilion, built in 1936 by William Roberts, was an early open-air oceanfront pavilion on the Grand Strand. The rhythm & blues of the post-World War II ear—later called beach music—was played on jukeboxes here and at other popular pavilions on the beach. At these pavilions dancers perfected the Shag, named the state dance in 1984. Beach music was named the state popular music in 2001.

Ocean Drive Pavilion

Roberts Pavilion was one of several local pavilions destroyed by Hurricane Hazel on October 15, 1954. Ocean Drive Pavilion was built here 1955-1957 with salvaged timbers and the same foundation. This area is still called Ocean Drive or “O.D.” although it was consolidated into North Myrtle Beach in 1968. O.D. is home to the Shaggers’ Hall of Fame, and the pavilion hosts shag events from April to November.

Erected 2007 by The O.D. Pavilion Social Shag Club. (Marker Number 26-18.)

Location. 33° 49.122′ N, 78° 40.35′ W. Marker is in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, in Horry County. Marker is at the intersection of Ocean Boulevard and Main Street, on the right when traveling north on Ocean Boulevard. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: North Myrtle Beach SC 29582, United States of America.



Contact Us By Mail:
OD Pavilion  
P.O. Box 3236
North Myrtle Beach, SC  29582

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