“The Whip” (pictured here circa-1937) at “Folly’s Playground,” a beachfront amusement park nestled between the Atlantic Pavilion and the original pier.
If you took a walk to the end of Folly Beach’s Center Street on any summer day in the ’30s and ’40s, you would have been greeted by teenagers being carried skyward in Ferris wheel carts and children squealing as they were whisked around a tilt-a-whirl ride dubbed “The Whip” (pictured here circa-1937) at “Folly’s Playground,” a beachfront amusement park nestled between the Atlantic Pavilion and the original pier. Constructed in 1921, the pavilion was the hub of daytime activity, with a roller-skating rink located just behind it. When the first pier was built 10 years later, along with a seaside boardwalk, it lit up Folly’s nightlife scene with dances and musical performances from the likes of Glenn Miller and Maurice Williams. After a fire destroyed the pavilion in 1957, the landmark was resurrected as The Ocean Plaza in 1960 and expanded to include a go-cart track, arcade, and mini-golf course. Though Hurricane Hugo later washed away these amusements, today beachgoers head to Folly for dining and entertainment at the local restaurants and bars, as well as Friday night dances on the pier.
Photograph by Morton Brailsford Paine/Courtesy of the Charleston Museum