If you know what I’m talking about already, you are one of a dwindling number!
When I was a young thang visiting Myrtle Beach, we would usually stay at the Swamp Fox Motor Inn, which was just a short walk (south) from what I always knew as “Hurl Rock.” This was a large (I’m estimating half-a-football-field’s-worth) grouping of slippery black/grayish mossy rocks which protruded unevenly from the sand; the tallest ones were not much more than a foot off the ground. They went maybe 20 or 30 yards out into the ocean, so at low tide some people would wade out and fish from them. At high tide, they were not visible. Climbing on them was slippery business. Across the street was a Hurl Rock Motel, and out on Kings Highway (U.S. 17) was (I think) a Hurl Rock Mini-Golf (or some similar name). Anyway, this little area, not more than a couple of blocks square, was known informally as Hurl Rock. The original name had been “Hearl” (an Horry County surname), but was later changed to the simplified spelling; so, even though the ocean does hurl itself against the rocks, and although a few people and small boats over the years have probably been hurled as well, this is not the reason for the name. In fact, the rocks were at one time called the Indigo Rocks, probably because the area nearby was known for the cultivation of that plant (a motel called the Indigo Inn is still nearby).
So…imagine my surprise when, many years later, I asked a lifeguard in the area about Hurl Rock…and she had no idea what I was talking about!
Well, turns out it’s not her fault; the rocks were apparently covered up during a beach renovation some years ago. This is what they looked like in the 1970’s and 80’s:
Photo undated. Click to enlarge.
There is, indeed, a small city park in this area. The next photo is a diagram of the ocean in the marked area (A through A’).
Click to enlarge. The following chart shows the changes the shoreline has undergone from 1989 to 2007:
Apparently the rocks were covered over sometime in 1997 when the beach was “nourished” with extra sand. Click for a larger view.
This plaque stands in the Hurl Rocks Park parking lot, Ocean Boulevard at 20th Avenue South. When Bartram first discovered the rocks, they were as much as six feet tall, but were subsequently significantly eroded.
This sounds vaguely threatening… (Photo taken by yours truly in June of 2011.)
And finally, the name lives on in yet another way: