PORT ROYAL, South Carolina
Port Royal’s iconic ‘Nightmare Witch’ has vanished from her longtime perch at the entrance to the city’s downtown area, prompting questions from residents curious about her future.
City Manager Van Willis said the unusual-looking sculpture of a woman holding a shield and raising her hand as if to say “Stop” will not be put back on its prominent perch, but it is also not in the spotlight. retirement.
Since 2007, the town’s principal lady has been anchored to a wooden platform behind a Port Royal sign on Route de Ribaut and Avenue de Paris to alert visitors to the old village district of Port Royal.
It frightens some, delights others.
Love her or hate her, standing 12 feet tall and sporting rubber hair, this woman at the gateway to town was hard to miss.
So residents noticed when the nightmarish witch stole into the chicken coop a few weeks ago.
“What happened to our far from ordinary mermaid on the corner of Ribaut Road and Parris Avenue?” a Port Royal resident asked on the Nextdoor neighborhood app, referring to promoting the city as “far from the ordinary.”
It is a work of art created by Dessa Kirk as part of an exhibition in Chicago in 2000. Port Royal acquired the exhibition the following year and some of the pieces can still be found throughout the city, said. Willis.
Kirk created the sculpture after discovering a spirit from the Amazon rainforest that protects rubber trees from over-harvesting, she told the Chicago Tribune in 2000. The lady is made of recycled steel, her hair from old tires. truck.
“Mother of rubber trees” is her real name.
Besides the nightmarish witch and mermaid, she also goes through Zephyr and Heisman Medusa (for her pose similar to the famous college football trophy).
“She will make a reappearance,” Willis promised last Wednesday following a city council meeting when the Beaufort Gazette and Island Packet asked where she was.
A few years ago, city officials decided to renovate the entrance to Port Royal for a new look to coincide with new growth, including the redevelopment of its claim to fame, its deep-water port.
This new entry does not include the witch, Willis said.
The city decided to replace the sculpture with a set of seven flags that represent the entities that have ruled the city throughout history – French, Spanish, English, Scottish, Confederate States of America, United States and South Carolina .
These same flags are printed on the official seal of Port Royal placed on the wall of the town council chamber.
The Flag of the Confederate States of America on this seal is not the same Battle Flag of General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia that is commonly recognized today as the Confederate Flag. The controversial flag will not be part of the flag panoply, Willis said.
Some residents don’t care about the nightmarish witch’s return.
“This thing is scary if you ask me,” a Port Royal resident said on Nextdoor in a discussion of her whereabouts.
Others say Mother of Rubber set the city apart.
“I love this mermaid or this sea witch or whatever you want to call it,” added another resident. “She made the sign look bland and ‘oomph.’ Hoping she would come back.
For now, the sculpture is relegated to oblivion in the city’s public works building. Eventually, say city officials, she will land in a park. Which has yet to be decided, but the Naval Heritage Park is a possibility.
“We’re going to find a house,” Mayor Joe DeVito said.