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The History of Compass Cove Resort

The Compass Cove Resort has a long history in Myrtle Beach—it began as the Swamp Fox MotorInn in 1967, right where the Schooner building now stands.

The resort was named for the famous Revolutionary War officer from South Carolina, Frances Marion, who was well-known for his guerrilla warfare tactics, those tactics which earned him the nickname “the Swamp Fox.” The Swamp Fox was popularized in part by a Disney-produced mini series about him that starred Leslie Nielsen and aired in 1959-1961.

In the Swamp Fox MotorInn days, the resort offered rooms that would set you back anywhere from $11 to $23 a night in the offseason to $22-$33 a night in the peak season, and it was well-established on the Grand Strand as the resort that offered the most oceanfront rooms in all of Myrtle Beach.

But when Hurricane Hugo bore down on the Carolinas in 1989, the Swamp Fox took a major beating. The indoor and four outdoor pools, the lazy river and much of the rooms themselves were decimated. One longtime employee who was with Compass Cove back when it was called the Swamp Fox said “during Hurricane Hugo, it wiped out all the pools. Hugo actually exploded the pools from the bottom up.” Another employee said “the bottom floor facing the ocean, which is now called the Schooner, it had about a foot of sand in the rooms.”

In addition to the renovations that were required after Hurricane Hugo’s damages, the resort had a major facelift in 1998—this was the facelift that also changed the name to Compass Cove Resort. But despite the changes, the family-like atmosphere of the resort has stayed the same.

“When Compass Cove came in, a lot of big changes came,” one longtime employee said in a video on the history of Compass Cove Resort. “It upgraded the hotel itself and gave us 27 different pools, and that made it exciting for families because they wanted do bring the kids.” And despite the changes, many of the staff members are the same, and many of the guests are still coming back to the resort, even if it has a new name and a new look. “It’s like a family.”

(posted 3/4/14)