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Generations of family experience life on Myrtle Beach boardwalk - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

Generations of family experience life on Myrtle Beach boardwalk

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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. -

For Myrtle Beach's 75th birthday, the party continues all year, but celebrating what the city has become starts with taking a look back at some of Myrtle Beach's most well-known areas.

The boardwalk sits in the heart of the city, surrounded by beautiful beaches and endless shops and restaurants.

According to long time resident Edward Waldorf, the more than mile long stretch of the boardwalk didn't always look the same.

Waldorf served in the United States Air Force, and found the place he calls home after being stationed in Myrtle Beach.

"On the Fourth of July in 1958, I walked to the fun plaza and the sergeant that I worked for at the base was working, and he asked me to come in there, make change while he went and got a shower, rest a little bit, got something to eat. He came the next day at about three," Edward said laughing.

He added that he didn't mind the unexpected, overnight stay.

"Enjoyed it, every minute of it. It was better than being out at the base with nothing to do," Edward said.

At the time, the small Fun Plaza was one of the few shops on the boardwalk.

"We had duck pin bowling. The pins were set up manually by young boys," Edward explained.

As the business changes, and the boardwalk grew, so did Edward's love for his job.

"It was real nice, and it gave me some spending money, money to do the things I wanted to do, and the people here that I worked for and people in the other businesses around here, they just took me in," Edward said.

He began to build a family, and when his son was just ten he introduced him to life on the boardwalk.

"We'd give him a broom and a dustpan, his grandfather would walk out in front of him drop dollars and quarters for him to find, spoil him pretty rotten," Edward said.

His son, Jimmy, said the boardwalk had a different look back then.

"Back in the older days, the boardwalk was only 16 feet wide in front of the arcade. It was a little concrete sidewalk basically with a rail and the beach was a lot wider then but the water came all the way up to the boardwalk then," Jimmy said.

But it changed even more when an unexpected setback rocked the coast of South Carolina.

"When I looked out at the boardwalk after Hugo I thought out, ain't no way we can clean all that up," Edward said.

But the family business, and the boardwalk recovered.

"We had our place ready to go within three days. You don't let anything like that stop you," Edward said.

Decades later, business on the boardwalk continued to grow.

"People realized that if they put some money back into the old buildings and all cleaned them up, did a little different, they could make better money," Edward said.

His son said the changes and new additions continue to draw in the crowds.

"The boardwalk has been a catalyst for the business taking off down here. People want to come see what it's like now and when they get here they can't believe it," Jimmy explained.

But for the Waldorf's, it's not just about the boardwalk, or a business, it's about their boardwalk family business.

"It's good to have your family around. We're a close family and we've all kind of stuck together and worked with one another, helped one another and all, and I enjoy it," Edward said.

The men said the next 75 years will bring new changes, but their gratitude for the past remains the same.

"I thank god that I wound up in Myrtle Beach. It's a great place. We've done well here, and the people have proved us mighty good," Edward said.

The men now co-own the Fun Plaza, and continue making changes as the scenery around them changes.

But the celebrations for Myrtle Beach's birthday are not over. To get more information on how you can get involved, go to http://www.cityofmyrtlebeach.com/index.html.

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