It’s been 25 years since Beaufort County played host to the cast and crew filming “Forrest Gump” — among them Tom Hanks, Sally Field, Robin Wright and Gary Sinise. The fondness for the movie hasn’t waned in more than two decades.
Each October, participants take part the Run Forrest Run 5K as part of the Beaufort Shrimp Festival. And visitors to Beaufort County year-round scour maps looking for locations from the fictional Greenbow, Alabama.
Filming took place in the fall of 1993 at sites including Beaufort, Fripp Island, Hunting Island and Yemassee, as well as in Savannah.
The movie would go on to earn multiple accolades at the Academy Awards, winning Best Picture honors as well as Best Actor for Hanks and Best Director for Robert Zemeckis.
Scenes showing Forrest sitting on a park bench to tell his story — and where he utters the iconic “box of chocolates” line — were filmed in Savannah’s Chippewa Square, specifically on the north side of the square facing Bull Street.
The website Savannah.com says filmmakers used four different benches, and one of those was donated to the city once the movie was done. That bench is now housed at the Savannah History Museum, 303 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
If you visit the square, look northwest from the area where the bench would be to see the steeple of the Independent Presbyterian Church. You’ll recognize it from the opening scene in which a feather floats to the ground.
The building that was Forrest Gump’s elementary school — the Greenbow County Central School in the movie — was Hampton Street Elementary School in Walterboro.
It recently was renovated and renamed as the Colleton Civic Center, according to Walterboro Live. It’s located at 494 Hampton St. and will celebrate its grand opening in early October.
In 2014, on the 20th anniversary of the release of “Forrest Gump,” Smithsonian magazine looked back at filming locations.
“Many of the structures for the film — like Jenny’s farmhouse and Forrest’s family boarding house — were built specifically for the film and torn down when production wrapped. ... The road where Forrest was chased in a pickup truck by high school bullies is located at 3547 Combahee Road, Yemassee, South Carolina — though it leads to a private property, so it’s probably best not to recreate the famous chase-scene on your own,” the magazine wrote.
Movie-locations.com said the Gump boarding house and Jenny’s farmhouse stood on the Bluff Plantation site. Sciway.com reported that the homes were built hastily for the production and had to be torn down because they were not up to code.
The Wall Street Journal reported in 2015 that the massive oak tree where Forrest and Jenny first fall in love and where Jenny is buried is on a part of the property now known as Plum Hill Plantation.
The sign in the movie says “Welcome to Mississippi,” but locals recognize the bridge Forrest runs across as the Woods Memorial Bridge in Beaufort. It’s a swing bridge that can be seen from Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park.
Chowan Creek Bridge, which connects Lady’s Island and St. Helena Island also appears in the movie, according to Sciway.net.
In January, distance runner Robert Pope recreated Forrest’s run across Woods Memorial Bridge as part of a run across the country. He even dressed the part, with a full beard and red running shorts.
Scenes from Forrest’s service as a soldier in Vietnam were filmed on Fripp and Hunting island. Movie-locations.com said the mountains in the scenes were computer generated.
The shrimp boat
Sciway.com said the the shrimp boat hurricane scene was shot in Port Royal and used a jet engine to simulate the wind, and a dock on Coosaw Island was the setting for the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company.
The site said the shrimp used for filming came from Gay Seafood Company, an institution in its own right, on St. Helena Island.
“Bob and Hilda Gay Upton’s shrimp boat ‘Miss Hilda’ can be seen tied up at the dock in the film while Forrest is naming his boat Jenny,” the website said.
According to Deep South Magazine, “Lucy Point Creek, on Lady’s Island just over the bridge from Beaufort, was the location for the majority of shrimp boat scenes in the movie. Bubba’s mother’s house was actually an existing residence on Alston Road, right near the creek.”