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Town considers buying old house near park

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

A house on the market near Town Hall has caught the attention of Pawleys Island Town Council, which agreed this week to discuss a price with the owners.

The house at 323 Myrtle Ave. was once the summer home of the McCarley family. Mary Anne McCarley, a well-known artist, died in October. The property is adjacent to the Pawleys Island Nature Park at the intersection of the North Causeway.

Mayor Bill Otis said he spoke with the owners, who have the property listed for $678,000.

“We could get it for less,” he told council members.

“We ought to look at it,” Council Member Glennie Tarbox said.

“At least check it out,” Council Member Mike Adams said.

The council met in a closed-door session to discuss its negotiating strategy.

“I’m going to look into some things and report back,” Otis said afterward. “The council is obviously interested in pursuing it in a manner that would be appropriate.”

The house was once a bar and convenience store known as the Wagon Wheel.

It was turned into a private home by the Altman family, owners of Pawleys Island Realty, which has the listing. They lived there four of five years, said Alan Altman, the broker-in-charge.

Pawleys Pier was still open to the public and the Pawleys Pavilion was standing on the edge of the creek. “It was in the middle of social activities on the island,” said Altman, who was a boy at the time.

The ground floor was converted from a store to a family room, but they retained the bar.

One evening, Altman said, “this guy staggered in and sat down at the bar and ordered a beer. My dad gave him a beer, then told him to get out.”

There is a historic registry plaque on the house, but Altman said he hasn’t been able to find it on the National Registry.

“We think the historic plaque is a joke, but we don’t know,” he said.

But the house is old and needs repair. Whoever buys it will be taking on a project rather than a turn-key operation, Altman said.

“The building itself is probably a tear-down,” Otis said.

The lot has 6,000 square feet. The house doesn’t meet current building setbacks.

The town owns the marshfront Town Hall and a parcel in the Birds Nest section that is used as a park. It leases the nature park for $1 a year.

Although the Town Hall is tiny, Otis said there has been no discussion about finding a bigger space.

“The staff would be greatly supportive,” he said.

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