Pawleys Island II

Friday we were back in Pawleys Island for the mundane, a UPS Store to ship some unneeded stuff home, to the sublime, picnic lunch on the beautiful Pawley’s Island beach and grilled flounder at the Fish House.

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In our earlier search down the road in Litchfield, for the Fish House, we’d noticed an intriguing ruin, something like a roofless motel, nearby. A well-maintained wooden fence along its well-mown road frontage, plus a departing grounds-keeper’s truck from a side road added to its mystery. We’d google-mapped it and found a very large mowed property descending to the mud-flat-marshes, a spit of land, and the sea. This was noteworthy, as all lands surrounding it consisted of dense live-oak woods, and typical upscale residential developments.

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We’d returned to photograph it. The late afternoon sunlight slanted golden against the vines and trees in its foreground, creating a very romantic perspective, which was deepened further by broken windows and doors gaping through to reveal distant views of another, larger ruin and shoreline far beyond, down by the water.

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When we finally found the Fish House open, it turned into another interesting experience, by the name of Bob. We were early-birds and briefly had the place to ourselves so we had a chance to ask our server if he knew anything about the ruin down the road or the platt eye. He fetched the owner, Bob Mimms, a genial Southern host who welcomed the chance to tell some good stories.

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When we told him we’d hoped to hear about the platt eye from Lee Brockington, he immediately called her on his cell and left a message. This man has been on the board of a great many local causes, and seems to have a finger on the pulse of all of them. He’s also a sailor, a local archaeology enthusiast, and collector of S.C. history and antiques.

He told us about the ruins: that they’d been a resort for African-Americans in the 30s during segregation, that great musicians like Ray Charles had stayed there, and that the property was presently owned by two black families who don’t exactly see eye-to-eye on its future. The folks who own the front part, once called the Magnolia Motel, want to totally restore it, but from what we could see, it may have deteriorated too far for reasonable hope of that happening. That’s a pity, because its setting is so beautiful and it carries a soulful spirit long-vanished in most places in this area. The larger, roofless building down by the marshes, beyond the motel ruins, was the late-night gathering place where black musicians and their families and friends would enjoy music after their professional gigs.

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One Comment on “Pawleys Island II”

  1. Meg Says:

    Want to visit this spot, you have my travel juices flowing.


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