How Folly Beach Became Known as the “Edge of America”

The old Folly Beach sign, with prominently featured “the Edge of America.”

Folly Beach is the most popular beach in Charleston, with thousands of locals and tourists alike soaking up the sun on the “Edge of America” on a daily basis during the hottest months.

While it is certainly a cool nickname for such a beautiful place, you may be wondering why Folly Beach is called the “Edge of America.”

According to a 2019 interview that WCBD News 2‘s Brendan Clark did with Mayor Tim Goodwin, the now official Folly Beach nickname was started by Bill Perry and Betty Sue Cowsart, then-owners of Ocean Surf Shop, sometime in the mid-90s.

At first, the owners were using the phrase for the surf shop, printing it on t-shirts and other merchandise. In 1997 they registered a trademark so that nobody could steal it from them.

Over time many people began using the “Edge of America” as a nickname for Folly Beach, and eventually the city adopted it as their official nickname, replacing the old one, “Mayberry By The Sea.”

The city placed this on a sign in the late 90s that stood until 2019, when the city replaced it with the horrendous new sign that looks like it belongs in Myrtle Beach.

It includes a screen that flashes with different messages and graphics, and occasionally reads “the Edge of America,” but it’s simply not the same.

Prior to this, the City of Folly Beach contacted Perry and Cowsart and received permission to use the phrase as a city, as long as they weren’t printing it on anything for sale.

The city obliged with these parameters, and as a result Ocean Surf Shop got a whole lot of free marketing for their trademarked t-shirts, and Folly Beach got a shiny new nickname.

Watch the full WCBD2 news report from 2019, featuring an interview with Mayor Tim Goodwin below.

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