If you’ve seen the 10 bronze fiddler crab sculptures scattered around Old Town Bluffton, you have seen the results of a 2015 project that inspired Katherine Robinson’s recent book, “The Crabs on Calhoun.”
If you have not seen the oversized crabs, go for a walk in Old Town and see if you can spot them all. Better yet, take a couple of children along to join the hunt.
The crabs were installed as a community project by the 2015 Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce Leadership Class. The purpose of the “Follow the Fiddlers” project was to educate people about local marine life and the ecology of the May River. The crabs can be found on Calhoun Street and surrounding streets.
Robinson loved the idea when she first heard about it, so she donated to the project.
When the sculptures were installed around the historic district, she was enchanted. Over the next few years, she thought about giving personalities to each crab, and came up with a whimsical story that brings the crabs to life.
Robinson retired in February from her 30-year career in human resources – including eight years with the Town of Bluffton – and recently published the book, her first for children.
“I love Bluffton, and I want people to know about it. I want people to know about these cute little crabs,” Robinson said. Her book is “a little bit like my love letter to Bluffton.”
“The Crabs on Calhoun” tells the story of a teacher crab, Mr. Finnegan, and nine young crabs – whose names all start with “F.” As the story goes, the class enjoys a rousing game of “Hide and Go Seek” when they have finished their classwork. That’s why they are “hiding” around Old Town.
The book can be used as a map for the scavenger hunt. An illustration of each crab is accompanied by that crab’s “bio” along with clues to help children find that crab’s sculpture. Also included are fun facts about fiddlers – for instance, do you know that only male fiddlers have a big front claw?
On the pages following each crab illustration are photos of where that sculpture is located and some of the landmarks around it, with some history and other facts about the specific area.
Inside each book is a card with a list of the crabs’ names on one side and a map of locations on the other. As participants find the crabs, they can mark them off and then take the card to Bluffton Town Hall to receive a gift.
“My hope is that it’s something that families can do together, teachers can do with kids,” Robinson said. “I can take little crab talk walks with kids. Homeschoolers could have an activity, and they’d also learn about the history of Bluffton.”
Robinson said she engaged and appreciated the help of some three dozen youngsters and their parents to read the manuscript and serve as editors while she prepared the book for publication.
To come full circle with connections to the chamber’s Leadership Class, “The Crabs on Calhoun” is part of a StoryWalk display created by the 2022 class. The StoryWalk is located outside the Bluffton Branch Library, and opened with a ribbon-cutting in late May.
“The Crabs on Calhoun” can be purchased at The Storybook Shoppe, Bluffton General Store, Eggs ’n’ Tricities, and Nectar in Old Town, or on Amazon or at Robinson’s website, onthehalfshell.shop. Robinson will donate a portion of her profits to local teachers for classroom supplies.
Robinson is a member of the Church of the Cross, where she volunteers as an usher and a docent. She recently had the opportunity to be an extra in season 3 of “The Chosen.”
Robinson also creates and sells ornaments made from oyster shells. Those can be found on her website, as well as a previous book she wrote. After battling a brain tumor, she published a book in 2009 called “Expect the Best – There’s Always Hope on the Horizon.”
Amy Coyne Bredeson of Bluffton is a freelance writer, a mother of two and a volunteer with the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance.