On Tuesday, November 13th, 2018, at 2 p.m., the repaired Hugh McManaway statue will be unveiled in a public event. The public is invited, and it’s free to attend. It will take place in the parking lot across the street from Myers Park United Methodist Church, at the southwest corner of Queens and Providence Roads.
Parking is available on-site, and you don’t need to RSVP.
If this isn’t ringing a bell for you, read on for a little history. (And since Hugh McManaway, and the statue, are a unique part of Charlotte history, the unveiling is part of the CLT250 yearlong celebration of Charlotte’s 250th birthday.)
Hugh McManaway, the man, was born in 1913 and grew up on Queens Road. He took to standing in the median of Queens and Providence Road, directing traffic. You can read more about Hugh McManaway in this excellent article in the Charlotte Observer by Théoden Janes. But know, at the least, that McManaway became a beloved, albeit quirky, fixture at that intersection.
He died in 1989 and eight years after his death, according to the article, sisters Kitty Gaston of Belmont and Anne McKenna of Charlotte, who were involved in the art scene, with the help of Charlotte Observer readers, and, ultimately, Bank of America CEO Hugh McColl, raised the money to have an almost full-sized, gold-colored statue of McManaway, in his familiar traffic-directing pose, created and installed on that median.
Soon the statue was a beloved (and quirky) fixture too. People decorated and dressed him for holidays and for birthdays. When couples got married at the church, they put veils on him.
The problem was that cars kept running into him and knocking him off his pedestal. Finally one accident in September 2017 did considerable damage to the statue.
It’s taken about a year, and an insurance settlement, but the statue has been repaired and strengthened, and the original granite base will go on top of a large concrete platform several feet off the ground, to protect him from being knocked down again.
Want to see the historic unveiling of the new and improved “Gold Man Statue?” The City of Charlotte welcomes everyone to the unveiling on Tuesday, November 13th, 2018, at 2 p.m.