SC History Trail

Withers Swash Park

One of the oldest inhabited areas on the South Carolina Grand Strand, Withers Swash - known today for Withers Swash Park - was part of a Colonial Era plantation established in the 1700s. It was inhabited by the Withers family in the 18th and 19th centuries and was the site of one of the earliest post offices on Horry County's coastline - the Withers Post Office, established in 1888.


Withers Swash Park
3rd Ave South, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
Map: View Map and Directions
Add This Site to Your Itinerary
Site Description
Known originally as Eight Mile Swash, Withers Swash is one of the oldest inhabited areas on the South Carolina Grand Strand and is named for one of the earliest landowners in Horry County - the Withers family. During South Carolina's Colonial Era, a prominent landowner, Robert Francis Withers, was issued a land grant for 66,000 acres which included this site, and much of modern Myrtle Beach which was then known as Long Bay. Sometime in the 1700s, James and Mary Cartwright Withers established Withers Plantation here and built a home on a bluff overlooking the tidal creek - know locally as a "swash" - which emptied into the Atlantic at this site.

An early resident here, Mary Esther Withers, moved here in 1801. Her tombstone at Prince George Winyah Episcopal Church in Georgetown bears an inscription expressing the Georgetown planers' view that coastal Horry Country in the late 18th century was a virtual wilderness. "She gave up the pleasures of Society, and retired to Long Bay," her inscribed epithet reads, "where she resided a great part of her life devoted to the welfare of her children."

In 1822, a massive hurricane struck Georgetown and Horry County, causing extensive damage and loss of life. Eighteen people who sought safety in the Withers house on the bluff were washed out to sea and drowned. Through much of the 19th century, the Withers family continued to farm the adjacent property, where sandy soil would grow tobacco, sweet potatoes, peanuts and vegetables. Oysters, shrimp and fish could be harvested from the nearby creek and ocean. In 1888, a post office was established at Withers Swash, with Daniel J. Cox as postmaster, but it was closed in 1901.

At about this time, Withers Swash was acquired by the Burroughs & Collins Company, a Conway-based timber and mercantile firm, which developed Myrtle Beach in the opening decades of the 20th century. In the 1940s and '50s, adjacent Spivey Beach developed as a popular summertime vacation spot and countless youngsters splashed in the waters of Withers Swash as they flowed into the Atlantic. The Withers family cemetery, with graves dating to the 19th century, is located off nearby Collins Street, adjacent to First Baptist Church. The mouth of the historic tidal creek, Withers Swash, was largely obliterated by development in the late 20th century. Today the site is best known as a city park - Withers Swash Park.
Access and Admission
Site Access: Public
Admission: Free
Ownership: Public/MB
Tours and Events
Guided Tours: No
Group Tours No