About This Place
Pawleys Island is a town in Georgetown County, South Carolina, United States, and the Atlantic coast barrier island on which the town sits. The population was 138 at the 2000 census. The post office address also includes an unincorporated area on the mainland adjacent to the island, which includes a commercial district along the Ocean Highway (US Route 17) and a residential area between the highway and the Waccamaw River. The island is on the southern end of The Grand Strand and is one of the oldest resort areas of the US East Coast. The town of Pawleys Island, though, is only on the island. The island lies off the Waccamaw Neck, a long, narrow peninsula between the ocean and the river. The island is connected to the mainland by two bridges, the North Causeway and the South Causeway. At the southern tip of the island is a public beach access area.
The earliest known inhabitants of the area were Waccamaw and Winyah Indians. They called the area "Chicora", meaning "the land", and the term is frequently used by locals.
The breezy island quickly became a refuge from the mosquitoes that were notable during the summer. With African slaves that were brought to the area came malaria, so those of means would move to summer cottages on the island to avoid the mosquito-vectored malaria and other sicknesses. "Why should we have to suffer like the slaves?", said young Mary Alston. The town's namesake George Pawley owned the island during the colonial era, and sold portions of it to other planters who wanted to escape malaria.