Huey Cooper Statue

Huey Cooper was a well-known African American citizen of Lake City and was known for bringing cheer and luck to the people of Lake City. Often seen sitting at the corner of Acline and Main Street on a low, cement wall, he cheerfully would let people rub his lucky rabbit’s foot for a nickel. He would then take his earnings to buy cigars and cokes at the nearby train depot. It is claimed that he was born in 1873 which made him 105 upon his death in 1978. A bronze statue was erected to commemorate Huey’s life and legacy on September 10, 2014, at the former location of where Huey would have sat. Huey holds out a rabbit’s foot and a slot was added to his right pocket for depositing nickels. Engraved below it asks people to keep the tradition alive by rubbing his rabbit’s foot and dropping a coin in his pocket.

Huey Cooper was a well-known citizen of Lake City and according to a 1963 article from the Florence Morning News, he was also known as a main “fixture in downtown Lake City for as long as anyone could remember.”[1] It is said that Huey lived in a rent-free small building behind the Dairy Queen that was built and paid for by the town’s police department. Often sitting at the corner of Acline and Main Street on a low, cement wall, he cheerfully would let people rub his lucky rabbit’s foot for a nickel. He would then take his earnings to buy cigars and cokes at the nearby train depot. While it is not exactly known how old Huey was, it is claimed that he was born in 1873 which made him 105 upon his death in 1978. After his death, the memory of Huey slowly faded from the town’s collective memory. Kent Daniels, Lake City historian and Director of Lynches Lake Historical Society and Museum, spoke with businesswoman, investor, and Lake City local, Darla Moore Rainwater, about funding the erection of a statue to commemorate Huey’s life and legacy. Alex Palkovich was commissioned (who is known for previously sculpting Swamp Fox, Francis Marion). A bronze sculpture was erected on September 10, 2014, at the former location of where Huey would have sat. Huey holds out a rabbit’s foot and there’s a slot in his right pocket for depositing nickels. Under Huey’s bronze sculpture is a plaque which reads: “Huey Cooper 1873-1978 – Lake City locals remember Huey Cooper as one of Lake City’s most unique citizens, who for a nickel, would let you rub the rabbit’s foot he carried around with him for luck. ‘Please help us keep this tradition alive by rubbing the rabbit’s foot and dropping a coin in Huey’s pocket.”

[1] https://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/44974

Saint Teresa Community Outreach and Empowerment received a Growth Grant from South Carolina Humanities. Funding for the Growth Grants has been provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

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