The Edwin S. Taylor Fishing Pier on Folly Beach was built in 1995 and extends 1,045 feet into the ocean. It culminates in a 7,500 square-foot covered platform that affords an amazing view of sea and sky. Folly was home to two piers before this one. Like today’s pier, they also served as social centers for the island.
The first pier was built in 1931, along with a pavilion, boardwalk, and the Oceanfront Hotel. In those days, you could catch an afternoon or evening concert featuring such big-band giants as Glenn Miller, Guy Lombardo, and Tommy Dorsey. It was also the scene of several beauty contests, one of which was judged by the legendary George Gershwin, who summered on Folly in 1934.
That pier burned in 1957 but a new one soon replaced it – surrounded by a 1,700-foot boardwalk and a modern hotel. Called “Oceanfront Plaza,” the area also featured a skating rink, a bowling alley, and a small amusement park complete with a Ferris wheel, a roller coaster, and a merry-go-round.
Like its predecessor, the second pier attracted plenty of famous musicians, including The Tams, The Temptations, Maurice Williams and The Zodiacs, The Catalinas, Doug Clark and The Hot Nuts, Jerry Lee Lewis, and even the inimitable Otis Redding. Throughout the 1960s and ’70s, young people flocked to the pier to dance the night away. Its giant windows offered wonderful breezes, and you could catch your breath, talk to friends, or share a drink with your date while staring out over the ocean. Sadly, the pier burned again in 1977 and there were rumors of arson. Folly did not have a pier for the next 18 years.
In an entirely different vein, the current Folly Beach pier revolves around fishing. At 25 feet wide, it stands 23 feet above sea level. At the foot of the pier, you can also find a sit-down restaurant, an upscale gift shop, rod and tackle rentals and sales, a lower patio space available for rent, beach access, and showers.
The Charleston County Park & Recreation Department hosts monthly fishing tournaments June through September, and the Big Kahuna tournament is held in August each year. In a nod to Folly’s past, it also hosts Moonlight Mixers once or twice a month during the summer.
Historic Pictures of Folly Beach Pier
The following images are from the collection of Maebelle Barnett Bazzel, a lifelong resident of James Island in Charleston County. All of the views show Folly Beach during the 1940s to 1950s. The pier and pavilion were built in 1925 by Ted Shiadaressi; they burned in 1957.
Thanks also to Jerry Braddock Sr. for contributing the snapshot below of the pier in 1950. He shares, “Thought you might like to see a picture of it I took in 1950 when I was chief lifeguard. I don’t remember the name of the bathing beauty standing between me and the pier.”
More Pictures of the Folly Beach Pier