As you head to one of Rock Hill’s many festivals, you’ll see drawings that are featured in ChristmasVille or Glenn, the frog. But did you know the famous local artist behind these prized creations?
Vernon Grant was born in South Dakota and worked on the West Coast most of his life, but moved to Rock Hill following World War II. He was an innovative farmer and a leader in the Rock Hill community. He became involved in the Rock Hill Housing Authority and the York County Chamber of Commerce. Grant also helped to form the first Come See Me festival, which has since flourished. Glen, the frog, one of Grant’s illustrations has been the mascot for the festival since 1964.
Before moving to Rock Hill, Grant had drawn several successful campaigns, including the characters “Snap, Crackle & Pop” for Kellogs and a gnome figure of Santa Claus for the Ladies Home Journal in 1932 that was wildly popular.
Grant drew dozens of holiday greeting cards that he would often sign himself and send to friends. It’s from those dozens of illustrations that the Culture and Heritage Museum now sells an annual ornament and Christmas Card that hold his Christmas characters.
Grant is thought of as the “adopted son” of Rock Hill and continues to be celebrated. The Culture and Heritage Museum created an exhibit for Grant’s work that lives in the York County Chamber of Commerce Office in downtown Rock Hill. The Main Street Children’s Museum also was created out of Grant’s illustrations. Displays include a make-believe pumpkin house, magic ships, and tree houses.
Grant hand picked a committee to continue to protect the integrity of his illustrations and choose the artwork for events such as ChristmasVille and the annual ornament. Grant passed in 1990. To read more about Vernon Grant, click here.