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The story behind “Old Man Traffic”

The bronze man guiding South Charlotte traffic is a beloved local landmark.

A bronze figure of a man wearing a hat, glasses, and carrying a towel, pointing out towards traffic.

“Old Man Traffic” debuted in Myers Park on December 9, 2000.

Photo by CLTtoday

Waiting for a green light at the intersection of Queens and Providence Road, you’ve probably thought — what’s the story behind the statue of the man pointing out like he’s directing traffic?

The four-foot bronze statue is a memorial of Charlotte native Hugh McManaway, who grew up in a 20-room mansion on Queens Road. Just blocks from his childhood home, McManaway spent the ‘60s and ‘70s directing traffic at the intersection that bears his image — donning his signature golf hat, glasses, and a towel on his arm.

Friends and family raised money to cement McManaway’s place in history following his death in 1989. Bank of America CEO Hugh McColl provided a donation to make it possible.

McManaway’s memory and contribution to the community is now immortalized in the relic of “Old Man Traffic,” sculpted by Elsie Shaw.

Seen by thousands of commuters ever day, McManaway has become a fabric of city folklore. Myers Park resident Larrie Sweet spoke to WCNC about the beloved landmark, “He was quite a fixture. All the old-timers have stories about him.”

Editor’s note: Don’t be surprised to see McManaway decked out in a sports jersey, a bouquet of balloons, or other decorations promoting local events.

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