Four years after being ravaged by Hurricane Matthew, Springmaid Pier is back
When Ray Cassidy saw what was left of the Springmaid Pier after Hurricane Matthew nearly wiped it out four years ago, the Myrtle Beach man was devastated.
“I almost cried,” he recalls. “It was just a lot of memories on that pier. It brings back memories from when you were a young ’un.”
Nearly four years after being ravaged by the Category 1 hurricane, the iconic pier is back—better, stronger and ready to once again serve as a memory-making backdrop for vacationers and locals alike. The rebuilt pier, which took three years to plan and get necessary approvals and roughly one year to construct, opened just in time for the July Fourth holiday weekend.
“We were thrilled to see the Springmaid Pier reopen,” says Karen Riordan, president and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau. “It has been voted ‘Best of the Beach’ many times over the years and has been the site of numerous fishing tournaments, and offers one of the best views of the entire Grand Strand.”
The pier is still an impressive 1,680 feet long—making it one of the longest piers along the East Coast—and 24 feet wide, and has fish cleaning/washing stations. More wooden bench-like seating areas line both sides of the pier to offer convenience and a bit of comfort for those fishing—and those there to simply take in the breathtaking views.
“You can actually sit down and watch,” Sheila Sumner of Georgia said this summer during her first trip to Myrtle Beach and Springmaid Pier. “These chairs everywhere—that’s a good touch.”
The pier, at DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Myrtle Beach Oceanfront, also features a restaurant, Southern Tide Bar and Grille, as well as a tackle shop, and Fish Tales General Store, where you buy the pass for the pier: $3 a day to walk, $12 a day to fish (children under age 5 are free). You can also rent a fishing rod and buy bait.
Springmaid Pier has been a staple on the southern tip of Myrtle Beach’s Ocean Boulevard since 1953, when it debuted as part of the original Springmaid Resort, a getaway designed for mill workers from central and Upstate South Carolina. The pier has had several unfortunate run-ins with hurricanes through its 67-year history, including Hurricane Hazel just a year after the pier opened and Hurricane Hugo in 1989. After its rebuild in 1959, it was destroyed by an airplane, according to records of the Myrtle Beach Chamber. Each time, it was rebuilt.
This time, it was designed to better withstand storms. It’s higher and reinforced with steel rather than timber.
“This project has been highly anticipated for a long time now, with many fans of the pier anxious for it to reopen,” Michael Frits, general manager of the DoubleTree Resort, said in a news release.
Cassidy, a longtime regular on the pier, was one of those eager for its return. He goes to the pier at least twice a week to fish (he already once again has an annual pass) and fondly remembers the days fishing from the same spot when he was a kid vacationing with his family.
“Everything that they’ve done is a step up,” he says. “It’s just that the old one is such an icon. I’ve caught many a fish on that pier and met a lot of good people. But [this] is a very nice pier. I love it.”