Archie McLauchlin remembers when Cherry Grove consisted of about 40 residents. He is a man, now 83, who has spent his entire life in Cherry Grove. Those who know him refer to him as Captain Archie or Poo.
“Since I was one-day old, my sister, Mullet, nicknamed me Poo from a comic strip character—Poo the Giant. I was a large baby at 13.5 pounds.” It stuck.
He most definitely calls North Myrtle Beach home. “I was born in Florence because there wasn’t a hospital here at that time.” His parents, Harold and Sue, moved to Cherry Grove in 1934. His father worked for the railroad and his mother was a homemaker.
“There were six children in our family—four boys and two girls,” said McLauchlin. “I was the fourth child. Today, I have one remaining brother who lives in Fayetteville.”
He said he’d never live anywhere but Cherry Grove. “From 1954-58, I was a Sergeant in the United States Air Force, and was stationed in several bases in Texas. It was a different experience as far as meeting people; but I’ve never had any desire to live anywhere else. It is the atmosphere that keeps me here.”
His family (brother-in-law John Nye) built what is now the Palmetto Shores Marina, now Anchor Marina which included the addition of a restaurant/bar. In recent years, that restaurant (at 2200 Little River Neck Road) was named Captain Poo’s. A couple of years ago, it changed names to Captain Archie’s.
You can’t visit Captain Archie’s and not realize the impact McLauchlin has had on this area. The restaurant is filled with photos and memorabilia commemorating his life—just about every inch of wall space. In fact, he has his own bar stool (it is christened with a brass plaque) and a designated parking spot at the front door.
“I guess if you stay in the same place for 83 years, you get known,” McLaughlin said with a slight grin.
By now, you may be wondering just where the captain portion of the nickname come from. “I have been a boat captain for 60 years either on fishing boats or on private yachts. I would take people all over the East Coast.” he said.
During those cruises, he said he sometimes had a crew of a couple men; sometimes it was just him. He recalled once when a tornado hit his boat. “It only rocked it, but that was pretty dumb and stupid to be out there.”
As far as his preference: “Cruising is better. You just have to put up with yourself.” He said he still runs some private yachts. His advice to those interested in boating is to start in a small boat and see if you like it.
This April, the Little River Intracoastal Swing Bridge was renamed in his honor as: Captain Archie Neil ‘Poo’ McLauchlin Swing Bridge. “This was a great honor and I was very humbled,” said McLaughlin.
A soft-spoken man, McLaughlin ended the interview with this:
“When people ask me if I have lived here my whole life, I say you can’t live here your whole LIFE until you’re DEAD.”
McLauchlin has two daughters, Pam and Kim; and one son, Bo.