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.

January 5, 2007: Unbuilders can unbuild an oyster
and Jimmy Grier is back in town

The workside. Unbuilding tools: hammer, grapple, crane, and unbuilt residue


and a 4th tool, the white something


Jimmy Grier from the front of his shear


Jimmy Grier from an angle


and Jimmy Grier from the side. Looks like the same Jimmy from all directions, but did he shave this morning?


and the front loader: tool #5


and Jimmy in the shearing fly-by-wire position


A good view of Manny's crane, old piers and a new bridge


The top of T-2, drilled and ready for Mickey and Ken


The top of the last Grace pier with bearings


One of the old bearings


Lookking toward East Bay - T-1 and the Pearman Monument Pier at East Bay


Looking up the side of the Grace pier


Looking through T-2 to T-1 and the East Bay pier


Meanwhile, back at the work yard - time for some laid-back fun - Can a mixture of southern guys and Boston guys build all the critical components for an Oyster Roast


Manny's smile says it all


Who is teaching who?


how to pour


Hmmm - with Jimmy on the left, oysters in the middle Manny with his hand in the launching position - let the games begin


Guys - this is how its done. You see, you take this knife in one hand and an oyster in the other hand and then ...


It seems there are a lot of fast learners


Smiles all around except Jimmy - who is carefully studing something


Well even in Singpore, I can taste the oysters


Even some young learners with a young smile and a maybe-I'll-smile-but-not-now


Look at this t-shirt, Carlos, his flag and the greatest ironworkers around (March 1 lowering of the Grace main span and below right, dropping the Mt Pleasant side of the Grace backspan (April 28)


Its been almost a year, but if this is Ken Canty on the left - its the first time I've seen him without a hard hat.


Hmmm - seems like a good day for all!


Even with the son down - Jimmy is still at it - from the right


and from the left with Michael in the back in a blue t-shirt (I think)


Its clear that for life is slow and steady (left) and life is a blur (right)


Nice time for all - and from here, smiles from Singapore

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

C. Frank Starmer