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 21, 2006: T-4 cleanup

Last Wednesday, Mickey's ABS team felled T-4, the last Pearman cantilever support. Today, the weather was perfect for a bicycle ride so these photos are from the Ravenel bicycle path. As you can see - there is almost nothing left of T-4. In the background are the remaining cantilever segments of the Grace (Port and Drum Island segments) and the Pearman Port segment.

(Jan 27, 2006: Corey Rubchinuk sent me email way back in December about his father, Leon, a member of the Testa team. Since then, I have looked all over for Leon, but he was always at a place that was difficult for me to get to. But the Testa family is a small group and Ponce came by yesterday, after Brett's blast of the T-4 foundation, and I asked where Leon might be. He pointed across Town Creek at am excavator and said "there is Leon". I remembered that I saw someone last Saturday (Jan 21) cleaning up around T-4 and asked Ponch about it. Yes, he said - Leon was working last Saturday. So I have found Leon - but have not yet associated a face with the name. So I'm going to continue to search for him - and give his son, Corey, a surprise photo).

A lonely excavator (operated by Leon - as described above) doing the cleanup.

A closer view of Leon and the T-4 root

In the background several cranes are being positions to continue disassembly of the Grace cantilever sections

This is simply a wider shot of the same worksite - with the Ravenel approaches in the distance

Later when I returned, our lone cleaner-upper was using his hammer to break down the T-4 foundation (Ponce, see above - said that someone was working with Leon - so next, I'll find out how this is)

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C. Frank Starmer