Ocean Forest Hotel
|Ocean Forest Hotel|
|Town or city||Myrtle Beach, South Carolina|
|Country||United States of America|
|Opened||21 February 1930|
|Demolished||13 September 1974|
|Cost||$1 million in 1929|
|Design and construction|
The Ocean Forest Hotel was one of the first major hotels in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, U.S.A. The Ocean Forest and the adjoining Ocean Forest Country Club and Golf Course were the vision of John T. Woodside, a textile magnate from Greenville, South Carolina. Woodside's company purchased 65,000 acres (260,000,000 m2) from the Myrtle Beach Farms Company, which included the land for the hotel along the oceanfront. Woodside completed the golf course and country club in 1928, and turned attention to building a hotel catering to upper-class clientele.
Designed by Raymond Hood, the architect of New York's Rockefeller Center, the Ocean Forest was completed and formally opened on February 21, 1930. It cost approximately $1 million to build, and featured a ten-story main tower with two five-story wings. This hotel was different from all other existing hotels in Myrtle Beach, with many ornate features like marble columns, crystal chandeliers, large ballrooms and elevators. The hotel property covered 13 acres (53,000 m2) including gardens, stables and pools. It stood oceanfront near present-day Porcher Drive.
Upon completion, Woodside was unable to make the mortgage payments, having lost most of his fortune during the stock market crash of 1929. The hotel, country club and surrounding property were all foreclosed upon by Woodside's bank, Iselin and Company of New York, and remained in their hands for several years. A group of independent investors purchased the hotel and country club, but much of the land was ultimately repossessed by the Myrtle Beach Farms Company.
After World War II, the hotel did not receive the required maintenance and upkeep.
Niles “Sonny” Stevens and Dexter Stuckey bought the hotel in 1973. The 10-acre site was worth $7.5 million but the purchase price was not made public. The owners began selling items from the hotel. The lighthouse that once stood on top later became part of Family Kingdom Amusement Park. The cost of operating the Ocean Forest was too high and, a Sun News article from the time said, it was "unable to meet the requirements of its insurers".
The hotel was imploded on Friday September 13, 1974 to make way for a condominium development. Only a roundabout remains today where the entrance to the hotel once stood with roads extending towards present-day Pine Lakes Country Club, the former Ocean Forest Country Club and Golf Course.
- Historic Resources of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
- Bryant, Dawn (13 Sep 2004). "Grand hotel set stage for recent upscale development in Myrtle Beach, S.C." The Sun News (Myrtle Beach, South Carolina) (via Knight-Ridder/Tribune Business News). Retrieved 2008-05-23.
- "OCEAN FOREST HOTEL A GRAND PLACE". Sun News, The (Myrtle Beach, SC). April 6, 2006. p. 3. Retrieved 2008-05-23.
- Dayton, Kathleen Vereen (May 8, 2005). "Myrtle Beach history gives way to nonstop growth". Sun News. Retrieved 2008-05-23.
- Strong, Hannah (September 12, 2019). "Gone for 45 years: The story behind a glitzy Myrtle Beach hotel from the Roaring 20s". Sun News. Retrieved 2019-09-12.