Island Vibes April 2024

23 HISTORY the road and rezoning to allow for lower-density housing, the town received a 10.5-acre parcel of land on 41st Street and another 1-acre parcel inside the resort. On Jan. 3, 1977, the front page of The Post and Courier trumpeted: “Initial Construction Has Begun on Isle of Palms Development.” The article’s subhead noted ominously: “The Closed Road: A Topic of Controversy.” Isle of Palms Mayor J. Blair White acknowledged that the gate built to keep his citizens out of the construction area had made some people angry. “I don’t know what we’ll do yet,” White admitted, when confronted with the idea that permanent gates would replace the temporary ones, “but I would like to see some sort of access to the beach.” Town Ways and Means Committee Chairman Henry Shaffer had less patience with those who stood in the way of the club’s progress. In The Post and Courier, he opined, “We [the rest of the Isle of Palms] already have about a half-mile of pure beach with free parking. I think what people get upset about is not having their own ‘private’ beach available to them.” And so the general public’s access to the island’s northernmost beaches vanished. A SUBURB BY THE SEA On July 4, 1977, the Isle of Palms Beach and Racquet Club opened with two tennis courts and a dozen homes under construction. Finch explained that the plan was to build the club slowly. He assured readers Brandy McMahon, Realtor® 843.996.6377 . . 32 Yacht Harbor Court Wild Dunes | $2,995,000 4 beds, 4.5 baths, 3579 Ft2 . left: 129 Grand Pavilion Blvd Wild Dunes | $2,150,000 4 beds, 4 baths, 2445 Ft2 Featured on the Cover! right: 123 D Shipwatch Wild Dunes | $1,300,000 3 beds, 3 baths, 1322 Ft2 Under Contract! of The Post and Courier, “It will be more for permanent residents, not planned as a resort.” Finch also assured Charlestonians that the planned 350-room inn, marina and shopping centers would be accessible to the public – although a new, permanent gate would be built to restrict traffic in the development’s residential areas and to keep non-members out of the tennis and golf clubs. In a June 1976 interview, Finch stated that while he would not promise to build a golf course, a famed course designer had been looking over the location. “George Fazio tells us that with the terrain we have,” Finch told a Post and Courier reporter, “the course could be the best on the East Coast.” Ads during the summer of 1977 announced the newly-opened tennis courts and advertised the first beach cottages, selling for $57,000 each. Would-be buyers were promised, “all the advantages of city life, without any of the disadvantages.” Continued on Page 24 Henry Finch plays a game of tennis at Wild Dunes. From Page 22