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Celebrating the Women of The Beach

  By  Katie Hunter
Brookgreen Gardens Oak Alley

For International Women’s Day, and every day, we are celebrating the accomplishments of women in the Grand Strand community that have been influential in the past and present of the area we all love so much - The Beach! 

Women of the Present

There are three female mayors in the Grand Strand: Barbara Blain-Bellamy of Conway, Marilyn Hatley of North Myrtle Beach and Brenda Bethune of Myrtle Beach.    

Amy Prock is the Police Chief at the Myrtle Beach Police Department, serving and protecting the city for over 20 years. 

Karen Riordan took the helm of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau as the President and CEO in 2018, and has had tremendous impact not only the business realm, but the entire community. Read more about the impact of the Chamber on their website

Kathryn Hedgepath created trolley tours to interactively share the history of Myrtle Beach. Board the trolley at The Market Common and ride around Myrtle Beach learning the fascinating history of our area. Register for one of her trolley tours here

Mary "Cookie" Goings is instrumental to preserving the African American history of Myrtle Beach and continues to work each day on advocacy and awareness. Freda Funnye works towards greater community awareness of Charlie's Place, a historic black nightclub operated during segregation, that was vital to the history of the Myrtle Beach area. Learn more about Charlie's Place here


Shaping the Past

Myrtle Beach was named by Franklin Burroughs’ wife who won the submission contest drawing inspiration from the wax myrtle trees that once lined the beach.

“Shag” was a dancer at Charlie’s Place that is rumored to have invented the popular shag dance.

Mary C. Canty was influential in the community for youth advocacy and civic involvement, honored by the Mary C. Canty Recreation Center on Canal Street.

Gloria Sapp was an area teacher, businesswoman and volunteer who was a strong supporter of the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk project that was completed right after her death in 2010. A section of boardwalk is named “Gloria’s Way” for her advocacy.


Anna Hyatt Huntington was a famous female sculptor that established Brookgreen Gardens and owned Atalaya Castle and the land at Huntington Beach State Park. Many of her sculptures are on display at Brookgreen Gardens to this day. 


Sculptures and greenery at Brookgreen Gardens.

There are so many more women who helped make The Beach what it is today, and the Myrtle Beach Area has a rich history that has impacted the culture and lifestyle of The Beach. Read more about our history on our blog


Katie Hunter

Katie Hunter recently relocated to Myrtle Beach, SC, but she is a true South Carolinian at heart. Growing up in Charleston, SC and living in the SC Upstate, Katie cherishes the rhythm of southern hospitality and a refreshing sea breeze. Katie has written stories for her friends and family to enjoy ever since she was little and is excited to uncover everything that makes Myrtle Beach, The Beach. Katie loves baking, the beach, and her Clemson Tigers. She can often be found walking her black labrador retriever or checking out a new restaurant in the Grand Strand with her husband.