From the Heart
The Harbour Town Lighthouse stands at the very beginning of the dream that became Hilton Head Island. Long before this grew to be America’s favorite vacation island, a visionary named Charles Fraser stood here and imagined a resort that would treasure nature, rather than wipe it level and build an imitation of it. Seems like a normal enough idea today, but that’s just because Charles’s commitment to it became so influential. It’s just how world-class resorts are made today, but that wasn’t the case when Charles began.
A Labor of Love
Only love could account for the mountains Charles and his followers moved. No, not that kind of mountain. Our alluvial plains here in the Carolina lowcountry, and particularly here on these sea islands, can hardly muster a hill, much less a mountain. But what we see around us on Hilton Head Island, and what we expect from resorts today, was then an uphill battle of the most galling and contrary kind. Charles Fraser persisted despite a world that surrounded him with old ideas and had little use for the new approach for which he was so passionate.
His law training helped Charles craft covenants to protect the trees, the soil, the gentle wildlife. But only his heart can account for the tenacity he applied to the job of making a new way come true. Tenacity is what it took, because everybody thought they had a better idea. “Charles, you could put more lots there if you made the roads straight,” and so forth.
A Sense of Place
They thought it was nuts to build a lighthouse from scratch, but Charles knew it would give our harbor a powerful sense of place, and the island a center of significance. “Fraser’s Folly” they called it. Once they could see that he wasn’t giving up, advisors even told him the stripes should go a different way. Charles saw it this way instead. And that’s the way the world has seen it ever since.
The Harbour Town Lighthouse has stood silent guard as the PGA trophy for the Heritage Classic Tournament is presented, for more than a half century now. Its light beckons to yachts from all over the world, as well as to our neighbors in Savannah. For those who put the 114 steps to the top into their collection of life experiences, lingering on the landings to learn the story of how folks got here, what they find at the top is a view they take home nestled in remembrance, some to Ohio or Pennsylvania, others to New York and Washington, many to the four corners of the earth.
This tower, that climb, and that view find a place in the hearts of people who have paused just a moment to let it in, to allow the sense to sweep over them. For someone to say the place is special is to warrant a good-natured chuckle for the obvious.
A Point for Pledging
With this kind of love and dedication so deep within its story, is it any wonder that thoughtful couples occasionally select the Harbour Town Lighthouse as the place where they will wed? We understand all that makes it memorable, exceptional, and we are delighted to share it with the extraordinary couples who sense what makes this the heart of Hilton Head Island. Call or drop by, and let’s get acquainted.