The last cabin standing on the southern end of Hunting Island won’t be standing much longer.
“Little Blue,” once a beach cottage but now on pilings hovering over the water, will come down before the end of the year, State Park Service director Phil Gaines said Thursday. The cabin will be demolished and removed, with the work opening to bids this month.
The work will be awarded to a contractor by early October, and the cabin could be gone this fall — certainly by the end of this year, Gaines said. The pilings supporting the cottage are strong, but the salt and wind will wear down the building.
“Over time, the elements will take its toll on the structure itself,” Gaines said. “We need to address that before that happens.”
Little Blue is about 600 or 700 square feet and was built in 2003 to replace a bigger cottage lost to erosion. The newer building was placed on 35-foot pilings to stave off erosion and storms.
Charles Steinmeyer, whose mother, Sara, owns the cottage, said the family was notified earlier this year of plans to tear down the iconic building. The family considers it state property now, Steinmeyer said.
The final family outing at the cottage was for Fourth of July in 2009. Everything was out in 2010.
The only visits since have been out-of-town family who want to see what has become one of the most photographed spots in South Carolina.
Steinmeyer believes the cabin has become a liability for the state, despite some public support for keeping it around. In recent years, people have climbed the pilings to enter the cottage and have been unable to get down, he said.
This won’t be a salvage operation — Little Blue won’t be relocated. The contract will call for demolition and removal only, a tricky task when factoring in the water and tides, Gaines said.
“It’s very unfortunate — a lot of people enjoy it still,” Steinmeyer said. “But that’s their call.”