080317 Murrells Inlet: Vintage motel up for listing on National Register
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The motel opened at Parrish’s Motor Court in 1950.
Murrells Inlet: Vintage motel up for listing on National Register

By Nikki Best
Coastal Observer

Even though it’s for sale, the shaded porches of the Brookwood Inn will soon be added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The business’s application to be listed as a historic property was reviewed last week and approved by the state Board of Review for the National Register. “It will now move onto the National Park Service for final approval,” said Grace Salter, agency advancement and foundation coordinator for the S.C. Department of Archives and History.

There are some revisions that must be made to the application before it goes on to NPS, but only minor ones, said Virginia Harness, architectural historian for the State Historic Preservation Office. “We haven’t done that yet. It will be happening in the next couple of weeks,” she said. “Once we send it on to the National Park Service, they have 45 days to act on it. Sometimes it takes a little bit longer than that.” Harness said that properties that make application for the listing are typically listed. If a property isn’t listed, the application is returned to the state for revision and resubmission.

The application was prepared by Jane Campbell a preservation consultant with Rogers, Lewis, Jackson, Mann & Quinn in Columbia. It was submitted to the state on July 5. It is unclear why the application was prepared since the property was already listed for sale. Brokered by Myrtle Beach Real Estate, and represented by Watson Felder, the almost 5 acre parcel was listed for $3.5 million in January and reduced to $2.5 million in March. Felder did not respond to inquiry.

The owner, Robert L. DuBose, did not respond to a request for comment made through his consultant.

One possible reason for application could be the tax credit associated with the listing, but being listed on the register does not preclude a location from being torn down. “That is a common misconception. It can absolutely be destroyed,” Harness said. The only way there would be any review of destruction of a listing is if it was a federal property, she said. “If there’s a federal undertaking, they have to consider effects. It still doesn’t mean that the building won’t be torn down.”

The tax credit available to historic properties is at the federal and state level. It requires the owner to pay for a historic rehabilitation of a property, to be approved by the NPS and state. If approved the property owner may file for a 20 percent federal tax credit. Since the Brookwood Inn is an income-producing property, the state tax credit is dependent on being approved for the federal credit and then apply “for state income tax credit of 10 or 25 percent (not to exceed $1 million for each certified historic structure) of their rehabilitation costs.”

The property was “first opened for business on New Year’s Day 1950, Parrish’s Motor Court is a one-story Colonial Revival style motor court,” the NPS application said. It’s been open ever since, despite ownership shifts and trendy upgrades.

A former owner, Charlotte Moore, recounted visits to the inn when she was young, before her father purchased the property as an investment. She went with her sister, grandmother and grandfather for weekends. Those were the motel’s glory days.

“My dad owned it later,” Moore said. “When I was a kid he didn’t own it. He was always wheeling and dealing, trying to make some money.” Moore recalls always going in the back, down the walkway in the center of the buildings, and there were two rooms. “I just remember going back there every weekend.”

Moore’s grandmother would pack a cooler for the weekend and they would all eat out of it for the whole trip, except the one time they’d go out for dinner. “Bread and berries and those little cereal containers you could cut in the middle and just eat out of that,” she said. “They didn’t throw away anything. We’d have little Coke bottles we’d recycle and a Thermos of something.” Moore and her sister would play at the motel, the beach on Sunday mornings and visit the Surfside Pavilion one evening. Each weekend was simple and fun, Moore says they didn’t want it to end.

“We’d cry so hard my grandparents would often put us to bed back home and then go back to Andrews,” she said.

Moore and her siblings sold the inn after her father died in 1984.

The Georgetown Library archive has a postcard sent from a visitor of the motor court. She referred to the inn as nice and told the recipient they’d been to Brookgreen Gardens earlier that day. The postcard illustration show the original architecture and sign for the business. The postcards are sold on eBay as collectibles.

There is no charge to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. “The only cost would be if someone hired a professional consultant to prepare the application for you” Harness said. “There’s no fee charged by us or by the parks service.”

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