75 years later, daughter of original Myrtle Beach planner reflects on changes

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WPDE) - Tuesday is going to be a big day for the City of Myrtle Beach. It marks 75 years since the city received it's charter. Because the city is relatively young, you can still find the children of its founders.

"In many ways we're still a teenager as towns go, 75 isn't that old for a lot of towns," explained Mark Kruea, spokesman for the city.

If anyone knows Myrtle Beach well it's Tempe Oehler. The 82-year-old has witnessed many changes and isn't surprised by the city's growth into a popular tourist destination.

"I'm thrilled to see what has developed here. I don't like the bad things, by any means, but it's exciting to me to live in a place like Myrtle Beach because it is a such a forward looking place," said Oehler.

Oehler has appreciated growing up in Myrtle Beach since her days attending college at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, "I realized what an advantage I had over girls who had grown up in real small towns. I had a much more cosmopolitan outlook on life because in the winter we were a sleepy place, but in the summer we were a city. It's a different way of life."

In 1938 her father, Nicholas Hughes, Jr., crafted a map of the city. She said the map is still used today by city planners.

Oehler reflects fondly on her time growing up and raising a family in Myrtle Beach. On Sunday's she'd play with her sister by the Pavilion while her parents visited friends.

Preserving the city's history is important to her. She was part of a group that saved the train depot from being torn down.

"The reason it was so close to my heart among other things, it's the triangle it's on. And it was called a triangle, is on that original map that my father did. And when I went to college we sent my trunk from that train station to where I was going to college," she explained. "That has been such a part of the history of Myrtle Beach and the development of Myrtle Beach, that little bitty railroad depot. And I've called it our Eiffel tower and our Alamo. Some people don't go for that description too well but it's our landmark."

As the city celebrates a milestone, Oehler is hopeful Myrtle Beach will continue to grow at a sustainable rate and maintain the same charm that's made it popular throughout the years.

If you'd like to celebrate the city's birthday, they are having a party Tuesday at 1 p.m. in council chambers at the Ted C. Collins Law Enforcement Center on Oak Street. They'll serve cake and punch.

The city has more events planned throughout the year.