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  • Writer's pictureNancy Rogers

A Secret Place

You’ve probably been to Charleston and also spent perfect days in Pawleys Island, but have you ever visited McClellanville? If you haven’t, you need to go. McClellanville is between Pawleys Island and Charleston, but it’s not on the highway, and it’s so small you will probably drive past the exit even if you’re looking for it.

McClellanville is little more than a village that is best known for its shrimping fleet. It’s eight-feet above sea level and fewer than a thousand people live there. It doesn’t have a beach, but it has a long history. It was once popular with planters as a summer escape from the long summers, and there are probably as many boats as there are people.

South Carolinians know the people of McClellanville for their bravery. In 1989 Hurricane Hugo passed directly over McClellanville. The Category Four hurricane arrived at high tide at eleven p.m., and it breached the entire village. Residents rushed to the local high school, which was a designated shelter, but no one could have anticipated the tidal surge that they would face there. Throughout the night the people of McClellanville clung to the rafters above the gymnasium to avoid the waters. Today there is a mark on the side of the gymnasium that marks how high the water got that night. The mark is at 18-feet above flood level.

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