Folly Beach, South Carolina History
How "Folly" got it's name
Early settlers, first approaching the island by sea, were welcomed by a pristine, tree lined coast. For many, it was their first sight of land and trees in months -- hence they named their paradise "Folly", from an Old English Word meaning clump of trees or thicket.
In the mid 1700's Folly Beach Island was also referred to as "Coffin Land" or "Coffin Island". Legend has it that ships entering the Charleston Harbor after a long voyage, would drop off sick and dying cholera passengers so as to avoid quarantine restrictions on the mainland. The dead were eventually buried "in coffins" on the island.
Folly Factoids -- Did You Know?
The island was inhabited in the early 1600’s by an Indian tribe, the Bohickets, who were eventually forced out as the wave of immigration from Europe continued.
The waters around Folly Beach have seen numerous shipwrecks over the centuries. In 1832, the ship Amelia wrecked off Folly Island marooning 120 passengers and, due to a cholera outbreak, Charleston cut off communications and supplies, fearing the disease would spread and become an epidemic.
The first shots of the Civil War were fired by Citadel Cadets on Morris Island, an island in close proximity to Folly. Ironically, the Union army captured Folly Island and Morris Island on their way to Charleston.
During Prohibition, Folly Island purportedly had a healthy bootlegging industry.
In the early 1930s, there were only 9 families living year-round on the Island, compared to the over X that live there today. However, plans for the Atlantic Pavilion, Boardwalk, and Pier were underway -- as well as many private residences and public utilities.
In 1934 Gershwin visited Folly Beach and created his literary masterpiece; Porgy & Bess.
The 1960’s were the Golden Years of Folly Beach, including the development of the Ocean Plaza -- 1700 feet of boardwalk, pier, amusement rides, shops, roller skating and concessions.
The 1960's also saw the introduction of the first surfboard on Folly Beach and the banishment of palm reading and horseback riding.
Hurricane Hugo hit Folly Beach and neighboring communities in 1989, destroying many coastal beaches and damaging homes. In true Folly spirit, the community banned together and recovered quickly.
PO Box 82
212 West Arctic Ave
Folly Beach, South Carolina 29439