Changing the face of Charleston : The unbuilding of the Grace and Pearman Bridges
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Blog: 2005
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Blog: 2006
The story of building the Ravenel Bridge
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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)

April 1, 2006:
Cooper River Bridge Run

It all started in Mt. Pleasant - the annual Cooper River Bridge Run. And what a memory for me. When Ellen and I first moved to Charleston, we lived in a small kitchen house attached to Bob and Benita Schlau's home. As good fortune would have it - Sparky renovated Bob's first home. Then I discovered that not only were Bob and Benita world class runners, but that Benita was a major part of the annual bridge run. So a big thanks to Bob and Benita for their introduction to the brige run.

Here is the start

and the serious runners

and real runners

and the walkers

But this is also a story about Sparky Witte and his family - here with Liza and Sparky 2 and Liza's husband, Matthew. Lets watch them walk the race course

Here is the family and the Ravenel Bridge - the virus that infected me with this passion to track the building process and brought many many new friends

and here is the back span about one year ago

And, surprise, here is Pio and Richie with Sparky's family

A view of what remains of Pio's legacy - the base of Grace

High up on the Grace is Chucky and another ironworker. Like Jack Foley and Michael Hebb and their sun glasses, you can always identify Chucky Squires by the tight wrap of his jeans at his boots. No loose clothing to snag anything!

Another view of Chucky, a piece of the Pearman and the Grace

Smiles all around

Walking down the west back span

and the back span about a year ago

Walkers along Meeting St

and then closer to Calhoun

Down King St. past Marion Square

Two inseparable Sparkys

Across Calhoun and down King St

and under the finish

Charleston and MUSC have given me much. Here was a small opportunity to give back. The PBC team organized a helicopter flight so that I could get some photos of both the old and new bridges. Just before I left for my move to Singapore, the bridge folks asked if they could use it for the race. How could I refuse? Sparky found Jez Tomlinson, who flew from Scotland, to run the race. Here he is with his plaque and a photo from my adventures with Palmetto Bridge Constructors - the same image as at the top of this page. Thanks to Charleston, thanks to MUSC, thanks to PBC and thanks to SCDOT!

Finally - Sparky's parents had their 65th anniversary the evening of the Bridge Run - and here is the clan

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Attribution: C. Frank Starmer and Sparky Witte from