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.

March 11, 2006:
Town Creek Alive - ABS, Testa and Cashman

Sparky was out today (I'm driving back to Charleston tomorrow) and caught Mickey's team with Silas and Brett running the John Henry and drilling holes in T-3, the marine Testa duet (Jackie Foley playing the shear and Steve DeMello playing the grapple) retrieving the Grace cantilever skeleton, Pat and Farmer pushing and shoving things around and Pio with the Drum Island exiles.

But first - here is Liza - Sparky's daughter. What better place for a photo than the Pearman memorial pier and the Ravenel Bicycle/Ped lane.

and the Silas, Brett and the John Henry drilling holes into the T-3 substructure. Earlier, Michael clean off the top face of T-3 so that Silas and Brett could have at it without tripping over all the residual rebar - a result of 3 months of hammering.

but the main attraction is retrieving the remains of the Grace cantilever truss

Helping with the retrieval

and more help

The grapple (Steve) with jaws open and the shear (Jackie) with jaws open ready to attack

A section of the truss

with Jackie handing off a section of truss to Steve. Jackie's shear takes a bite and with the hands of a skilled quarterback, passes the piece to the Steve and his Dale Earnhardt grapple who then moves it to the disposal barge.

Pio, Leon, Ryan? and ?

Silas and Brett - playing the John Henry and drilling away on T-3 (aka Tenacity of Purpose) while Jackie (right)thinks about the last Grace fragment and Steve (left) places the last truss segment in his sandbox.

A wave from Pat and Farmer and the Capt. Gary

and the Jackie pondering the leftovers from today's retrieval. Look at Steve (left) with his Dale Earnhardt cap, sitting on his Dale Earnhardt cushion, and thinking Dail Earnhardt thoughts.

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C. Frank Starmer