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  • By Shelbi Ankiewicz

Why the Chat N’ Chew is such an important part of CCU history

The Chat N’ Chew restaurant in Turbeville, South Carolina, is an important part of CCU’s history, and the building is now up for sale.

The current owner, Bernard Blackman, has gotten to the point in his life where he wants to settle down and retire. That is why the Chat N’ Chew is on the market to be sold. He will keep the restaurant open until he finds a buyer, but he wants to ensure that the new owner will keep the restaurant as is, since there is so much history attached to the building.

“I just want a good person to keep it, of course, keeping it in the same name,” said Blackman.

Originally, when Coastal Carolina was first built, it was a part of the College of Charleston. A few years later in 1959, CCU officials met with those from University of South Carolina at The Chat N’ Chew and CCU officially broke off from Charleston to become a part of USC.

According to the book, “Coastal Carolina: The First 50 Years,” written by CCU’s retired history professor Roy Talbert Jr., Coastal originally did not want to be a part of USC. They wanted to be their own junior college, rather than be swallowed up by a bigger university. Yet, USC’s division director, Nick Mitchell, who oversaw the expansion of USC, had other plans in mind.

Ken East, a former secretary of the Coastal Carolina board, input a quote for Talbert’s book and said, “Since Horry pioneered in establishing the first tax supported junior college in the state, the group felt that we should use all the sources we could to maintain our identity as an independent community college.”

During the summer of 1959, Mitchell held USC classes in Myrtle Beach. The number of students that enrolled equaled the same amount, if not more, than the number of students that were enrolled at Coastal. This was due to the amount of resources and availability USC had, since they were already an established university. After Coastal realized this, they knew they could not compete, for they did not have the same funding as USC.

According to Coastal Carolina’s website, this was the turning point for the Coastal Carolina Junior College. The officials from the two institutions met at the Chat N’ Chew in the summer of 1959, and officially declared Coastal Carolina would then be named the University of South Carolina’s Coastal Carolina Extension Center, starting in the fall of 1960.

The reason this is so profound is because USC helped establish CCU as the university it is today. Prior to becoming a branch of USC, Coastal only offered a two-year educational program and had little to no funding. Then, once USC stepped in, CCU slowly became a four-year institution with thousands of students. If Coastal never became a part of USC, the university would not be where it is now.

CCU graduate student, Ashaar Arbali, agrees that the Chat N’ Chew is an important part of history that must be preserved because of the significant decisions that have been made there.

“It would be kind of sad because it’s like an end to an era in a way because right now you can still go there, and it’s filled with teal stuff,” said Arbali. “You know the president went there, and they had a flag put up and all that stuff, so it’s pretty cool to see that part of like history, for Coastal at that spot.”

The address for the Chat N’ Chew is 112 Main St., Turbeville, South Carolina, 29162. The restaurant is about one and a half hours away from Coastal Carolina University. If given the chance, take a drive out there and visit this piece of history.

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