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Love of the Dance and it's Music
If you've been anywhere close to a Carolina coast in the past 57 years, you've heard of two things that are as indigenous to our beaches as sea oats and sunshine: Beach Music and the Shag. And if you know anything at all about the Carolina coast, you know that the former isn't the stuff the Beach Boys turned out and the latter isn't a '60s hair style Beach music was - and is - a particular type of R&B that became initially popular in South Carolina Dance Pavilions and quickly made its way upstream to our beaches. And the Shag was - and is - the only dance you did to it. Period.
We pay tribute to that shuffling, swaying strut that cleared the dance floor, created legends and lives on today as one of the best things to do on a summer night at the beach when the breeze is warm and the rhythm is just right
Roberts Pavilion / Ocean Drive Pavilion
By Jim Hulen – NorthMyrlteBeachONLINE.com
North Myrtle Beach September 24, 2007
During the first week of the SOS Fall Migration, representatives from the O.D. Pavilion Social and Shag Club, members of the Society of Stranders and North Myrtle Beach city officials gathered to dedicate a historical marker located on the ocean side of the intersection of Main and North Ocean Drive Boulevard. The historical marker recognizes the continuous role open air pavilions and shag dancing has played in the culture of the City and its predecessor municipalities. Since 1936, an open air pavilion has been located at this intersection. The first was Robert’s Pavilion, destroyed during Hurricane Hazel in 1954 and replaced by the current O.D. Pavilion. The O.D. Pavilion was build on the same foundation and with salvaged timbers from Robert’s. In her remarks, Mayor Marilyn Hatley said, “This is the first historical marker in the city of North Myrtle Beach. I want to give credit to the OC Pavilion Social and Shag Club and Bill Drew who led the effort in the coordination with the SC Archives and History commission to get the approval for this marker.” Afterwards, Hatley commented, “The twelve thousand members of SOS and the three times a year events they hold are not only delightful and entertaining but an economic boost to the community. A Coastal Carolina University impact study showed a $7 million dollar stimulus for each of the events. We are very grateful to be the historical home of the shag and beach music.”
Sonny’s Pavilion, built in 1949 by N.F. “Sonny” Nixon, was an open-air pavilion on the Grand Strand. The rhythm & blues of the post-World War II era—later called beach music—was played on jukeboxes at area pavilions where dancers perfected the Shag, named the state dance in 1984. Beach music was named the state popular music in 2001. Nixon bought a small gazebo here and added a jukebox in 1947, then built a large pavilion here in 1949.
Ocean Drive had a strict midnight curfew for its clubs, but Cherry Grove did not, and Sonny’s became a favorite of late-night shaggers from midnight to dawn. Sonny’s was one of several area pavilions destroyed by Hurricane Hazel in 1954, but Nixon rebuilt it the next year. It remained popular with shaggers and other fans of beach music until it became a family arcade in the 1970s. Sonny’s was destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989.
Erected 2009 by the O.D. Pavilion Social and Shag Club. (Marker Number 26-21.) http://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=27329
Myrtle Beach Pavilions
A succession of four beach pavilions stood here or nearby from 1902 to 2006, all built by the Burroughs & Chapin Co. or the Myrtle Beach Farms Co. The first, built in 1902, was a simple oceanfront shelter. The second, built in 1907, was a frame building 1 1/2 blocks from the beach. The third pavilion, a two-story frame building, was built here in 1923. An amusement park added in the 1930s grew to more than 11 acres.
The 1923 pavilion burned in 1944 and was replaced by a two-story concrete pavilion in 1949. Dancing at these and other pavilions evolved into the Shag, named the state dance in 1984. The 1949 pavilion’s “Magic Attic” hosted bands and other acts; its jukebox, on the promenade’s dance floor, played the rhythm & blues of the post-World War II era, later called Beach Music. The pavilion closed and was demolished in 2006
Erected 2009 by the Ocean Drive Pavilion Social and Shag Club. (Marker Number 26-22.) http://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=36810