The abandoned and overgrown lot here is an anomaly, an undeveloped enclave nestled among the homes, shops and businesses along this densely populated stretch of U.S. Highway 17.
It once bustled with activity. This was where many African American vacationers came during the Jim Crow era to access the ocean. Today, the Georgetown County parcel wedged between the highway and the marsh only features the ruins of a motel and a house. Bugs dart through the humid air or scurry across the shaded earth.
At the edge of the property, where the low land gives way to pluff mud and Spartina grass, one finds the entrance to a narrow road extending 800 feet to the tiniest of islands with barely enough room for a forlorn tree. Sea birds perch on the roadway’s hot rocks, keeping an eye on the creeks where small schools of fish occasionally run when the water is up.
The view is stunning.