Tuesday, January 10, 2017

McClellanville, a South Carolina Fishing Village

Welcome to McClellanville, our favorite little coastal town just down the road, population 525.  When you turn off the main highway and head east into town through the moss-draped oaks, past the huge white colonial homes losing their paint, you feel as if you are going back in time.  
McClellanville has no chain stores.  There's a coffee shop, three or four fish markets, and an old restaurant with the bathrooms outside on the porch serving seafood that was swimming in the sea that morning.  You can buy supplies at the gas station out by the highway.  

For sightseers, there is the Deerhead Oak, 67 feet tall, 30.6 feet in circumference, and judged to be a thousand years old.
There are usually people visiting 

at the picnic tables 

and children swinging on the tire swing 

in its shade.


McClellanville became a fishing village when Portugese shrimpers up from Florida settled there.  Today fishing, shrimping, and oystering are still its only industries.  

Shrimp trawlers are docked at the Carolina Seafood Company on Jeremy Creek and two other fish companies that buy and market the seafood caught by McClellanville fishermen.

In 1989 Hurricane Hugo nearly devastated McClellanville.  The huge shrimp boats were scattered about yards and roads in the town and up against century-old oaks.  The strongest part of the hurricane passed directly over the village and residents took refuge in the high school, which was the designated storm shelter.  To their horror, the storm surge surpassed all expectations and threatened to drown those in the school.  In complete darkness, they managed to boost each other into a crawl space above the ceiling of the building as the water rose higher and higher.  Fortunately they were safe there and no lives were lost in in McClellanville during Hurricane Hugo.



The high school auditorium the morning after Hugo where those sheltered had first climbed on tables, then on tables on the stage, then into the crawl space above the ceiling as the waters rose around them.

Huge shrimp boats and other boats were scattered about the yards and roads in town, piled up in heaps of debris.

(Photo from ABC News)

There is a small museum in town with exhibits about the rice plantations that once stood on the land the town now occupies, the fishing industry that is its livelihood, and a bit of good advice about some of its less friendly citizens.

Like this guy.

In case you are ever out in your kayak and see a log with eyes (also known as an alligator), you might need to know exactly what size critter you are looking at.  Did you know (I didn't!) you can tell by estimating the distance from its eyes to its nose (do NOT get out of the boat to do this!) and, calculating 1" per foot, that's how long your gator is.  

Yes, that is a gator skull and those are its REAL teeth.  


  1. It must have been a terrifying experience sheltering from that hurricane. What a small town with less than 600 residents but great to see that it has survived against all odds.

  2. OH gosh! That photo of the high school auditorium that was the designated safe place took my breath away! I'm glad no lives were lost and that they really took care of their citizens during Hugo.

  3. I remember Hugo, we were living in Augusta, GA. Sounds like a perfect little town, kind of like Darien down the coast from here. They do the blessing of the fleet there each year.

  4. That was a very scary storm. It would have terrified me.

  5. How blessed those people were to survive that storm, what a sight to see all that devastation.

  6. I remember that name Hugo Hurricane, it was devastating and must have been very frightening for those people in the school.

  7. A quaint town then. How wonderful to have such fresh fish for sale.
    Such a pity about the big storm, they certainly do great damage, the best thing no one was hurt..
    That is a big tree..

  8. I bet you can buy some good fresh fish there. I wouldn't want to meet up with a gator, if I did I wouldn't care how long he was:)

  9. i am impressed with detail friend!
    being a coastal town having lots of fish market sounds obvious .
    it has survived through bad times which makes it more great and marvelous .
    thank you for sharing the views of your favorite city dear!