Unbuilding the Grace and Pearman Bridges


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.

And a reminder from T.S. Eliot (East Coker from the Four Quartets)

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.

October 10, 2006:Brian Dadin joins the team
While Sparky's camera is under repair, Brian Dadin, one of the early members of my MUSC IT Lab provides a different view of the bridge.

Something about Brian. Brian distinguished himself in our IT Lab with 1 great idea / week. By Wednesday if there had been no new ideas I would always lean on Brian - "What is the great idea of this week?" and Brian would come up with yet another terrific concept, idea etc. He is a web developer of extraordinary ability. Brian could come up with a working prototype of our portal (http://my.musc.edu), of a workflow manager and you name it. Brian could pull together a working prototype within a few days. From Brian's rough draft the rest of the team would polish it and extend it. The IT Lab was special - everyone had their own speciality - Nathan, Christopher, Matthew, Robert, Josh, Brian C, Brian M., Satya and Nafees. Within the walls of the IT Lab, I was the junior learner and these guys were the senior learners.

Brian graduated from the IT Lab about two years ago. (No one every quit - they all graduated). Brian went to Blue Ion, LLC an interactive marketing agency. Recently Blue Ion moved to the Cigar Factory - on East Bay and across from the Port. From Brian's window, you can see the bridge worksites. So here is Brian's first contribution.

Here is Blue Ion's new home

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A view from a Blue Ion window of cousin Arthur's bacon project

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The Grace / Pearman worksite and a progress report. When last Sparky had his camera operating we saw the foundation of the mid-span support for the Grace truss. Now you can see that the support is in place and ready for our iron-worker acrobats to start some serious unbuilding. Looking more closely, it looks like Chris and his 7550 + our ironworker acrobats have unbuilt all the struss structure between the last two Grace legs (left).

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Sparky's camera should be back soon - and between Brian, Sparky and anyone else - lets pick up the story and continue. From Singapore, wish I could be there!

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

C. Frank Starmer

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