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.

September 14, 2005:
Fixing the Grace Bridge

Lee Graves in Tomball Texas found our web site and contributed the following story from his father, James R. Graves, senior designer of the Pearman Bridge.

"I recently discovered your website showing the "unbuilding" of the old
bridges.  My father, James R. Graves, was the senior designer of the old
Pearman bridge so I feel a real connection with the two bridges. Several
years later he was made Bridge Engineer of the SC Highway Department.  You
probably do not know a very interestoing story regarding the old Grace
bridge.  During construction of the Pearman bridge, it was discovered that
the old timber pilings supporting the first pier of the old bridge on the
Charleston side were virtually eaten away by marine worms and the old bridge
was in real danger of collapsing, and in fact the old bridge was leaning
several feet out of plumb.  It was decided to put a cable around the old
pier, pull it back into alignment, and pour a concrete casing around the
remains of the timber pilings.  When the old bridge is demolished down to
the piers, you might take a close look at the footing of that first pier.

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

C. Frank Starmer