Man walks with gator.

Man Walks with Gator

Field review by the editors.

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Unveiled in 2011, sculpted by two artists (one for the man, the other for the alligator) a life-size bronze statue depicts a man in a hat and business suit, using an umbrella as a walking stick, cheerfully striding next to a big alligator. The guy looks like he's in his fifties, and his outfit seems to be from the 1920s. In fact, it's a reproduction of a photograph from 1962, and the man, Charles Fraser, was only 32.

Fraser was the fortunate son of a retired, well-to-do Army general and landowner. Sent to Hilton Head Island to cut down its trees, Fraser instead saw its potential as a resort destination. He convinced his dad to send him to Harvard Law School and then sell him the island. He built golf courses and gated subdivisions, transforming Hilton Head from a rural backwater of formerly enslaved African-Americans (and alligators) into a fashionable enclave for rich white people. He died in 2002, scouting new islands for new golf courses and subdivisions, when the engine on his yacht exploded.

People like to pose with the statue, imitating Fraser's saucy walk or straddling the alligator. In real life, the gator, nicknamed "Albert," disappeared not long after the photo was taken, removed by investors who didn't want him on their golf course. The rumor, never confirmed, was that Albert had eaten a dachshund.

Man Walks with Gator

4 St. Augustine Place, Hilton Head Island, SC
Take US Hwy 278 onto Hilton Head Island and follow it south for several miles. At the traffic circle, take the second exit onto Pope Ave. At the first stoplight turn left onto New Orleans Rd, then make the first right onto St. Augustine Place. Park in the small lot and walk to the statue, which faces Pope Ave.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

LEGO Art in Sno Cone ShopLEGO Art in Sno Cone Shop, Hilton Head, SC - 2 mi.
Giant Neptune Statue SundialGiant Neptune Statue Sundial, Hilton Head Island, SC - 3 mi.
World's Largest Boiled PeanutWorld's Largest Boiled Peanut, Bluffton, SC - 10 mi.
In the region:
Old Sheldon Church Ruins, Yemassee, SC - 32 mi.

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