The Market Common has officially been around for ten years. Everyone living in Myrtle Beach and along the Grand Strand knows it as an upscale shopping area, one of the most desirable areas to live, and home to the offices of The Trembley Group, the most professional and amazing real estate company on the Grand Strand. The Market Common is just about the perfect place for upscale shopping, fine dining, or entertainment in Myrtle Beach.
But if The Market Common’s tree-lined streets, cafes and boutiques could talk, they would tell stories of Farrow Parkway and Lt. William Farrow of Darlington, a member of Doolittle’s Tokyo Raiders who was shot down, captured and executed by the Japanese. Or of Howard Avenue, named in tribute for Lt. Col. James Howard, a fighter pilot and Medal of Honor recipient. Or of countless other compelling stories of the deep-rooted military history that was once grounded here. Other streets are named for warplanes like Warthog, Corsair, Thunderbolt, and Mustang and are constant reminders of The Market Commons’ long military history.
The Market Common’s Proud Military Roots
Today, The Market Common’s 4,000 acres include an urban village, parks, ballfields and a number and variety of residential developments that from 1956 to 1993 served as the Myrtle Beach Air Force base. But The Market Common’s military roots go back even further than that – all the way to the early 1940s when it was used to train pilots for the Army Air Corps, as a military base for World War II, and for its service during the Vietnam War, Cold War and Desert Storm.
Today, The Market Common includes Warbird Park, which displays three eras of fighter planes: an A-10 Warthog (retired Col. Joe Barton’s Dawg Hawg that flew during Desert Storm), the F-100 jet fighter, and an A-7 tactical fighter. The Wall of Service pays tribute to local veterans.
The Norton General Aviation Terminal at the Myrtle Beach International Airport includes displays from the Air Force Base Operations building that once stood there.
The terminal is named for twin Norton brothers from Conway who served in the Army Air Corp during World War II. They were killed in action when the plane they were piloting and co-piloting was shot down. The twin brothers were together virtually every day of their lives.
10-30-18: The Market Common’s Proud Military History
Early Myrtle Beach Aviation History
According to a plaque in The Market Common, “In 1939, the Myrtle Beach Town Council decided they were in dire need of a modern municipal airport.” The town purchased land for $35 per acre from the Myrtle Beach Farms Company, part of the Burroughs & Chapin Company, Inc. a real estate development company established in 1895. Two grass runway were constructed by the Works Projects Administration and the land became known as the Harrelson Municipal Airport.
The Birth of the Bombing and Gunnery Range
In 1940, federal funds were used to help pave the grass runways as part of the National Defense Program. The following year, the War Department bought just over 6,700 acres, including the airport as a site for Army Air Corps pilot training. The base was expanded to 97,000 acres and began operations as the United States Army Air Corps Myrtle Beach Bombing and Gunnery Training Range to fill the urgent need for air crew training. A small self-contained city of offices, barracks, a hospital, and various maintenance and training facilities soon took shape.
The Myrtle Beach Army Airfield
During World War II, the base was renamed Myrtle Beach Army Air Field, and it was the temporary home to bomber and fighter aircraft and crews – most bound for the war’s European Theater. Some base aircraft patrolled the US eastern Atlantic coastline, searching for German submarines. And a prisoner-of-war camp housing some 600 German POWs was established at the base. The famed “Doolittle Raiders” who conducted the carrier-based attack on Tokyo in 1942 were briefly deployed here for training prior to their legendary raid.
And Finally, Myrtle Beach Air Force Base
In 1948, following World War II, the base was deactivated and restored as the Myrtle Beach City Airport. But soon, in 1956, the rising tensions of the Cold War led to its reactivation as Myrtle Beach Air Force Base. Myrtle Beach AIR Force Base became part of the Tactical Air Command, with F-100 Super Saber fighters and an estimated 3,500 military and civilian personnel. During the following two decades, aircraft from Myrtle Beach Air Force Base saw extensive action in Indochina and other theaters.
For almost 40 years, the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base remained an active base in the U.S. Air Force’s Tactical Air Command. Among the aircraft based here were the F-100 Super Sabre fighter aircraft, the Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star, the A-7 Corsair, the Convair T-29 Seastar, and the A-10 Thunderbolt “Warthog” attack aircraft. More than 3,500 Air Force and civilian personnel staffed the base, and its aircraft and crews were active in the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War and numerous Cold War deployments. At the end of the Cold War, the U.S. military was downsized and in 1993, Myrtle Beach Air Force Base was finally closed and transferred to civilian control.
The Birth of Market Common
Today, 25 years after Myrtle Beach Air Force Base was decommissioned, 3,937 acres of the former base has become a model for how closed military facilities can be transformed and revitalized to serve their communities. The base property was ceded to civilian control and redeveloped in a variety of ways, including construction of Myrtle Beach International Airport and The Market Common.
Only a few structures and facilities from Myrtle Beach Air Force Base still exist on the site but most of the beige and brown military buildings have been torn down. Many visitors and newcomers to Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand may not realize the base once existed here. But the city has kept the base history alive with a military museum at its Crabtree Gymnasium, a pair of parks – Valor Memorial Garden and Warbird Park, with its Wall of Service featuring the names of those who lived and worked at the base – and more than 150 historical markers along parks, bike paths and walkways on the former historic base, detailing the contributions of those who served at the base.
Fate and dumb luck also contributed to Myrtle Beach, the Grand Strand, and The Market Common becoming a major relocation destination. Even as the base was closing, other economic forces were taking shape to put the Myrtle Beach area at the forefront of national attention as an ultimate relocation destination. Myrtle Beach was named a “metropolitan statistical area” in 1993, a Census Bureau designation that attracts the attention of chain restaurants and retailers looking to move to up-and-coming cities that might not otherwise appear on their radar.
Then, during the spring of 1995, a front-page story in The Wall Street Journal introduced Myrtle Beach and its attractions – including live-music theaters such as The Carolina Opry – to millions of readers nationwide, providing the spark for many visitors to make their first visit to the Grand Strand. A few months after The Wall Street Journal discovered Myrtle Beach, American Demographics magazine dubbed the Myrtle Beach and Grand Strand metropolitan statistical area the nation’s second-fastest growing area for jobs and people.
And as 1995 drew to a close, the air base authority and others had replaced most of the 800 civilian jobs that had been lost when the Air Force moved out of town. Among the biggest economic development announcements was electronic manufacturer AVX Corp.’s decision to build a $6 million, 58,800-square-foot research and development facility on former base property.
The steady influx of new businesses, jobs, visitors, and retirees quickly offset the economic impact of the departing military.
The Development of The Market Common
It wasn’t long before The Market Common district became one of most sought after places to live in Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand. Its town center with stores and restaurants were attraction enough, but the wonderful communities that have built up around it offer affordable luxury living for almost every budget and taste.
The Market Commons “urban village” concept had been unheard of in Myrtle Beach and along the Grand Strand. The Market Common became a compact community of stores, restaurants, parks and amenities, all within walking distance of residential neighborhoods. It became a go-to spot for visitors to shop and play, and residents to live.
More than just a residential neighborhood, The Market Common has become its own unique lifestyle. Residents love the walkability – the convenience of having restaurants, shops and parks just steps away from the front door. It’s not unusual for Market Common residents to regularly walk to the area’s restaurants and pop into stores along the way to shop and browse. Many of the homes overlook Valor Park and some residents enjoy the buzz of activity from folks strolling The Market Commons’ sidewalks and parks.
Residents love living in an environment where they can walk their dogs around the lake at Grand Park then stop by a shop where they know the employee by name to grab a dog treat from the bowls sitting at some stores’ doors. They enjoy the atmosphere of The Market Common, especially the friendliness of the people and the well-manicured flowers that dress-up the complex.
The urban village continues to grow with the addition of a wider variety of neighborhoods, parks and ball fields, other commercial centers, a weekly farmers market, service businesses such as banks and health care facilities, and the growth of the Grand Strand campus of Horry-Georgetown Technical College.
The Trembley Group Real Estate Professionals encourage everyone to visit Myrtle Beach, the Grand Strand, and The Market Common. Explore all the proud military history that can be discovered there. See the planes that once patrolled the skies of Myrtle Beach, the Grand Strand, and much of the world on display at Warbird Park. In Valor Park there are large maps that show the location of more than 150 historical markers found around The Market Common. Make a day of it. Dine, shop, learn about the history of the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, and stop by The Trembley Group Real Estate offices and discover all the ins and outs the Myrtle Beach, the Grand Strand, and The Market Common real estate market.
Every Trembley Group Real Estate Professional was chosen for their professionalism, integrity, in-depth community and market knowledge, marketing savvy, and negotiation skills. But the most important quality every Sales Executive shares is a client-first philosophy that lets them help their clients realize their dreams. When buying or selling a home, don’t depend on the market; depend on a Trembley Real Estate Sales Professional’s character and skill.
At The Trembley Group, we pride ourselves on being the experts at more than just selling real estate. We are local residents, some of us have been here for a lifetime. The rest of us will be here until the end of time. We love living, working, and playing in the diverse backyard of Coastal Carolina, and look forward to helping you live and love your dreams soon too. Please reach out to us by phone or email for personalized service and one-on-one advice.