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Changing the face of Charleston : The unbuilding of the Grace and Pearman Bridges
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Buy Sparky's History of the Unbuilding of the Grace and Pearman Bridges


Unbuilding Highlights
(Apr 10)
Meeting St. Stories
(Jul 10 2006)
East Bay Stories
(Oct 10 2006)
Drum Island Stories
(Feb 17)
Pearman Bridge Stories
(Apr 3)
Grace Bridge Stories
(Apr 3)
Imposions: Prep and boom
(Mar 27)
Unbuilding Bridge Blog
(July 23 2006)
Unbuilding Challenges
(Mar 13)
Learning Links
(Feb 20)
Unbuilding Stories
(Mar 13)
Video and Sounds
(Feb 28)

For Sparky and myself, curiosity drives passion which in turn fuels our life's engine. Our passion was capturing the story of both unbuilding the Grace (1929 - 2007) and Pearman (1966 - 2007) Bridges and discovering the unbuilders. It takes a lot of passion to track a project from July 2005 until April 2007 - rain, shine, hurricanes or moving to Singapore. We discovered the joy of discovery learning. Ken Canty opened the front door for us - then Steve Testa, Ponch Billingsley and Mickey Rogers opened many side doors. Below are the highlights of what we discovered, who we met and what we learned. To put things in perspective, T.S. Eliot captured the essence of what we are about:
Home is where one starts from. As we grow older
The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated
Of dead and living. Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment
And not the lifetime of one man only
But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
From T.S. Eliot (East Coker from the Four Quartets)


July 07, 2005 8:10
From the Ravenel bicycle lane

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August 06, 2005 15:37
The Beginning of Unbuilding

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August 09, 2005 15:59
An early bite of the bridge

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August 10, 2005 6:42
Getting started

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August 10, 2005 17:37
Between King Street and Meeting St

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August 12, 2005 20:12
Night work at I-26 Exit 221 B

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August 12, 2005 21:16
Night work on the I-26 overpass

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August 14, 2005 6:47
Morning work - Lifting girders with a mega-crane

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August 14, 2005 8:49
Lifting girders

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August 15, 2005 16:46
Sparky's photos: Progress between Meeting and King

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August 17, 2005 16:05
Clash of the titans

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August 17, 2005 17:36
Jack Foley: Reflective sun glasses make a difference

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September 12, 2005 15:33
Michael Hebb (Anniversary boy)

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September 20, 2005 11:32
Cutting through girders: Nugget, a dentist in disguise

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September 21, 2005 10:20
Cutting the roadway into segments
with video

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September 29, 2005 8:52
Sharon Stallings - Boat driver

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October 01, 2005 0:00
From SCDOT: A view from above

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October 03, 2005 19:27
Neil Myers night crew at work

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October 05, 2005 12:31
Dropping a Pearman column just like dropping a tree - almost

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October 11, 2005 10:00
Dropping the Town Creek segment of the Pearman Bridge

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October 20, 2005 23:00
Removing concrete griders over Immigration Drive

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November 02, 2005 23:03
Late night work: Harvesting girders over East Bay as seen from below and above

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November 07, 2005 16:25
Harvesting girders from the Pearman: 50 tons at a time

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November 08, 2005 14:25
Reef Transplantation: The Testa-Cashman surgical procedure

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November 15, 2005 10:03
Dropping the Drum Island cantilevered section of the Pearman

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November 16, 2005 7:57
Innovation@work: Removing roadway segments over concrete girders

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November 30, 2005 6:30
Loading and sequencing D-25 with explosives

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November 30, 2005 15:53
Imploding Pearman Pier D-25

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December 01, 2005 14:00
A gift from SCDOT - a view from above

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December 06, 2005 10:01
Dropping the Town Creek Section of the Grace Bridge

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December 16, 2005 14:01
Dropping Pearman piers M1-M5 with style

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January 23, 2006 18:50
Bob McCabe - never standing still

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January 23, 2006 19:23
The all purpose Richie

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January 25, 2006 14:05
Adventures with Captain Bill's jackup barge and Mickey's drilling team

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January 25, 2006 15:45
High flying with the iron workers

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January 31, 2006 4:10
Backing down the Grace at 4am

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February 01, 2006 0:00
SCDOT gives us a view from above

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February 09, 2006 2:10
The end of Grace: Unpouring the last segment of the Grace ramp

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February 17, 2006 10:12
Jim Grier and his A team fells the last Grace segment on Drum Island

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February 22, 2006 6:45
History today - Successful lowering of the Pearman main span over the Cooper RIver

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March 01, 2006 6:45
The Ironworkers proclaim that the Cooper River is Graceless

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March 22, 2006 15:01
T-3 and Frank say bye bye

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April 01, 2006 0:00
From SCDOT: A view from above

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April 05, 2006 9:00
Demolition Dynamics: Dropping the east Pearman cantilever

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April 26, 2006 13:15
Jackie Foley and Michael Hebb and how to fish for Grace truss sections

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April 26, 2006 13:47
Charge placement on the Grace structure

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April 28, 2006 10:00
Bye bye Grace (Mt. Pleasant side)

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May 16, 2006 8:57
The Last Grace Blast and a tribute from the C-17s and F-15s

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May 23, 2006 8:40
Oscar and the team preparing for the last Pearman blast

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May 24, 2006 10:00
Bye bye to the last Pearman superstructure

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June 07, 2006 12:57
Preparing to unbuild P-11: A template + drilling + skill

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June 24, 2006 11:57
From SCDOT, Julie and Randi - A history of the project from above

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July 10, 2006 18:16
Down memory lane between East Bay and Meeting St

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July 26, 2006 7:26
ABS University, Prof. Rogers and the CHS Bomb Squad

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July 27, 2006 1:30
My dad passed to us many gifts and now he has passed

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September 16, 2006 9:42
Part 1: Chris, Robbie, Lewis and Carlos - Graceful acrobats @ work

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September 16, 2006 10:49
Part 2: Raising the Grace pier truss

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September 16, 2006 16:45
Part 3: Unbuilding Grace from her feet

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October 31, 2006 18:25
The Mt. Pleasant Pier resting on the Pearman footings

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November 02, 2006 10:15
Sextet for Stan, Nugget, Carlos, Troy, Manny and Chris.

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December 15, 2006 11:41
Watch Manny and the Ironworkers unbuild a Grace section

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December 15, 2006 16:39
Another face lift by Manny, Carlos and the team

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December 16, 2006 12:08
A view of the Grace Skateboard ramp from above

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December 19, 2006 9:34
Unbuilding half the last superstructure

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December 19, 2006 10:18
Carlos, Lewis, Nugget, Stan, Robbie, Randi, Rick, Manny, Chris and a segment of Project Runway

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December 19, 2006 12:09
The last of Grace to come down

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December 21, 2006 10:47
Near completion of the Grace steel structures

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December 22, 2006 16:28
SCDOT's aerial survey

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January 10, 2007 16:17
Wrapping T-1 for Friday's implosion

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January 11, 2007 16:43
Mickey, Ken and team loading T-1

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January 12, 2007 9:21
T-1 is no more: Mickey and Ken at their best

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January 14, 2007 16:10
Gone is T-2, the last of the Pearman support piers

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February 03, 2007 10:05
Nearing completion of the Mt. Pleasant Pier

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February 28, 2007 15:59
Shelly pushes the button and gone is the T-2 foundation

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March 13, 2007 10:15
Bringing down the last Grace pier

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March 13, 2007 14:25
Manny demonstrates the Manny push strategy.

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March 27, 2007 16:00
The last Graceful Blast from Mickey, Michael, Ken and the entire unbuilding team

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March 29, 2007 16:46
The clean up after ...

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April 03, 2007 12:35
The last of Manny. What a man and what a smile - sigh

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April 10, 2007 7:42
Morning sun kisses the Graceless and Pearmanless Ravenel Bridge

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The Charleston Bridges as seen in 2006 Satellite photos

Charleston
Bridges Satellite 2006

Current Satellite Image

Google map resources facilitate visualizing progress with the unbuilding project and locating photo segments of interest. For the details, visit the Google map API. The balloons to mark sites of action. Click on any balloon to visit the most recent photos from that area.


Click to view all unbuilding web page segments

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Attribution: C. Frank Starmer and Sparky Witte from http://oldcooperriverbridge.org