Every city has its quirky architecture. I am going to tell you about one notable structure along the Grand Strand.
With the anniversary of Hurricane Hugo coming up in a few days I thought this story was appropriate to tell.
Imagine you are visiting the Marsh Walk in Murrells Inlet. Looking east, out across Goat Island toward the Gulf Stream Café, you will see this oddly shaped structure. You can’t miss it. It looks like something out of a science fiction movie. Or perhaps, the 20th century embodiment of George Jetson’s cartoon home. Either way, three letters come to mind: U. F. O.
Your eyes are seeing correct. The Garden City, SC peninsula is home to one of the last remaining UFO houses built by Miami Architect Peter Vander Klout in 1976. The visionary builder constructed only a handful of these circular domiciles, but the lore surrounding the homes are numerous.
Owned by the Graham family of Gallivants Ferry, The 1800 square foot home boasts 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.
When originally built, similar homes in Florida were in stark contrast to the mega mansions that lined the shoreline. In Garden City, the structure was a futuristic oddity because it was surrounded by the traditional 50’s and 60’s beach cottages.
Imagine, beach bungalows… and a spaceship.
The locals rolled their eyes.
Thanks to its unique design, the UFO home was built to be able to endure winds as high as 300 mph, as well as Category 5 hurricanes. One of Klout’s structures near Homestead, Florida withstood the ravages of Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Hurricane Andrew hit the area with violent ferocity as a Category 5 hurricane. Enduring sustained wind speeds as high as 165 mph, the home stood the test.
On September 22, 1989, Hurricane Hugo made landfall between Myrtle Beach and Charleston SC. The Category 4 storm with 140 mph winds demolished the South Carolina coastline. Dozens of homes were completely wrecked on The Garden City Peninsula and hundreds more severely damaged. The Garden City UFO home suffered no structural damage.
The locals did not roll their eyes any more. They were crying as their homes were torn to shreds and reduced to rubble. As for the concrete behemoth… barely a scratch. Folks seem to endure the oddity now-a-days and are happy to point it out on a tour.
A July 24, 2020 story in the Orlando Weekly newspaper cited that according to the book “Lost Miami: Stories and Secrets behind Magic City Ruins,” Klout’s homes were surrounded in local lore. “Over the years these saucer-shaped homes inspired quite a few urban legends revolving around everything from mob bosses to nudist colonies, and pretty much always garnered nicknames like "The UFO House," or "The Flying Saucer House."
Klout is not the only architect with an out-of-this-world vision for what homes could look like. On Loveproperty.com you can check out “Amazing” homes that are Out-of-This-World in locations, quite literally, all over the world.
You can visit these web links to learn more about Klout’s hurricane proof “UFO” houses. And DON'T FORGET, when you are visiting the Marsh Walk in Murrells Inlet to look east at the concrete mushroom!
Inside the ‘UFO home’
Glimpse of Abandoned Million Dollar ‘UFO House’ in Florida
The Islamorada UFO House
Homestead UFO House
Islamorada’s UFO House
Robbi Bischoff Photography
Jason Lee Photography (Center image)
Explore Living the South Carolina "Hammock Coast" lifestyle from Myrtle Beach to Georgetown, and Beyond!
1232-B Farrow Parkway
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577