Watch the demolition (unbuilding) of the Grace and Pearman Bridges
(old Cooper River Bridges)
The Bridge Blog A dialog about our new bridge and these web pages
Schools and universities are all about learning - and learning is mostlly
brain training. Learning is expedited by repetition and forgetting
is expedited by infrequent use of learned skills or information.
Tracking the building of the Ravenel Bridge and now tracking the
demolition of the Grace and Pearman Bridges bring
many questions to me and help me better understand the role Google
and the Internet play in
just-in-time learning. I enjoy chasing my curiosity and
want to identify ways to encourage younger learners to also enjoy curiosity
chasing and learning.
Many young learners do not understand the importance of repetition. More
important, while experienced learners understand the learning process
they often do not realize the destructive effects of the forgetting
process. Over the course of the
bridge project, I have access to only a few experts.
Rather than a liability, this has become an asset and pushed me to improve
my search skills with Google. Soon, I realized that answers
to questions encountered during my photo adventures were often
only a Google-search away. Gene Stead,
my first boss and I put these ideas together in a small essay:
Restoring the Joy in Learning).
Google + Internet have become dependable extensions of my memory.
Insights I gain from you and this project will find their way into the
learning centers in our schools and universities.
Frank Starmer and Sparky Witte The three muskateers of Charleston
One cold morning in January of 2005,
I was watching some girders being erected on
Line 14 (the East Bay on ramp) and up drives a car and out pops a man, tripod,
camera, hard hat, safety vest - just like me. This was Gary Eaton who had
been tracking the bridge longer than I had. Had I not received an email
request to track the approaches, I would not have met Gary.
During the July transition from
building the Ravnel Bridge to unbuilding the Grace and Pearman Bridges,
I received some photos from Sparky Witte from Mt Pleasant. Another kindred
spirit who was as infected as I was with a passion to understand what
was happening. Suddenly, the
Internet facilitated the opportunity for two new friends that helped to
capture the behind the scenes story of
the building and unbuilding processes. This initiated our small club of
Charleston Construction Photographers (still a figment of our imagination)
- who knows what will happen next?
While Gary is a real photographer (visit his
Studio web site),
Sparky and I were novices and eager to learn. I was very fortunate to
acquire additional Internet-initatied contacts that facilitated my learning.
Vince Streano from Seattle
provided insights about capturing construction photos while Stephen
SetteDucati from Boston and did the
Big Dig at NIght provided some insights for
While the Internet is a useful communication tool, it is also a tool for
social interactions. I would never have found Gary, Sparky, Vince or Stephen
without the Internet's ability to publish my building and unbuilding stories
and for Google to index them and make the links available to the world.
As I enter the last few days of acute loose end overload - preparing to depart
for Singapore and Duke on Thursady, I am confident that our interactions
will continue to develop.
Nugget, one of the ironworker acrobats has some digital images
for our site, Sparky and Gary will continue and I suspect others will
contribute. What a wonderful time Ellen and I have had in Charleston and we
shall certainly miss it. We are keeping our home and we are keeping all the
warm friends that we have made - particularly Tom and Joan Bryce, our neighbors.