After 1869, while Hilton Head Island slept under the warm Carolina sun, it became enriched by the Gullah culture but remained isolated from mainland culture. During the early 1940s, three families came into ownership of large tracts of land covering much of the island. These families formed a lumber cutting consortium and actively cut and barged Southern Pine to paper factories in Savannah and elsewhere. The island became a hunting and fishing paradise for Northern sportsmen.
But, in 1956, Hilton Head Island experienced another dramatic change. A swing bridge was constructed to the island, which spanned the Intracoastal Waterway. Suddenly it was no longer a slow ferryboat ride to the island, just a short trip over the bridge.
Entrepreneurs arrived. The Norris Richardson Company built the first grocery store near the ocean. Wilton Graves constructed the first modern lodging which he called the Sea Crest Motel. Charles Fraser, a young Yale Law School graduate, began to realize the vision he had formed years earlier during his family’s timbering days. His idea was to create on Hilton Head Island an environmentally friendly residential resort community. This dream took shape as Sea Pines Plantation. The magnitude and eventual result of the dream would shock even him. Almost in consort with Charles Fraser’s plans came the ideas of another island entrepreneur, Fred Hack. His plans for Port Royal Plantation reflected his love of history and his brother Orion’s love of nature.
LOADING SAW LUMBER PRIOR TO 1956
THE CLIVEDON RAN FROM SAVANNAH
TO BEAUFORT, STOPPING ON DAUFUSKIE AND HILTON HEAD ISLANDS. THIS MADE IT EASIER FOR ISLAND
TRAVEL AROUND THE AREA.