At its first Bluffton Town Council meeting in its new chambers Feb.12, a resolution was read to name the new space in honor of Henry "Emmett" McCracken, Jr.
McCracken was cited for his service to Bluffton as mayor and council member, as well as several other positions during his more than 20 years of public service to the Lowcountry community.
"A native son of Bluffton, Emmett McCracken represents how a deep love of Bluffton motivates a person to keep serving this community through an entire career of public service, holding multiple positions," said Mayor Lisa Sulka. "Naming Council Chambers in honor of Emmett McCracken also pays homage to his family's legacy of service. George Sewell Guilford, McCracken's great grandfather, was Bluffton's first mayor. We thank Emmett for carrying on his family's tradition of service as they have shaped and guided this town through nearly a century of changes."
McCracken served as Bluffton's mayor, starting in 1999. He served as mayor for two years and then ran for Town Council, where he served until 2004. McCracken started his local political career in 1993 as a Beaufort County Council member, serving two years as chairman. In addition, McCracken also served as the chairman for the board of directors for the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce and was the chairman of the Comprehensive Southern Beaufort County Plan.
In addition to his public service, McCracken developed his family's 18 acres adjacent to May River Road, which is now known as the Stock Farm neighborhood. He and his wife, Teddy, recently closed their business, Stock Farm Antiques, which had been in the family since 1953.
McCracken began his public service career with a 30-year career in the United States Army, retiring in the rank of colonel.
The Hilton Head-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce recently awarded him the 2018 Alice Glenn Doughtie Good Citizenship Award during the annual Chamber Ball in late January.
"Emmett McCracken has witnessed Bluffton's transformation from a sleepy town to the state's fifth largest municipality. In the last two decades, he has helped guide and shape our town through those changes," Mayor Pro Tempore Larry Toomer said. "His life has walked through Bluffton's dramatic changes and his leadership has helped Bluffton grow while preserving all that this special about our beloved town."
Toomer said McCracken still serves as a mentor and a guiding force for Bluffton's leaders.
McCracken said he was totally surprised and humbled at the honor. "It's very easy to become involved, I think, in your hometown and one that's as loving and as beautiful as Bluffton is, and how fortunate we are to live here," Emmett McCracken said. "It's just great being a Blufftonian and being a part of this Town."