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.

November 11, 2005:
Building and Unbuilding

It is midday and the Pearman skeleton over East Bay has increased in length by one span since yesterday - photo taken at 12:03 pm for comparison with subsequent photos.

Meanwhile, the 1250 has demolished most of the pier we saw yesterday. This morning, smaller hammers and grapples have reduced the pier to what you see here

Now looking west - the port has its own Stonehenge monument

It is also lunch time so Tony is feeding Mike's 1250. It has a capacity of 350 gallons of fuel - which amounts to about $1000 for a fillup - required about every other day.

Here is Tony's mobile fuel station.

and after an hour, work has begun to bring down the next pier

and a final look at the work site at 13:55 (remember this time) and note that SAVE is inscribed at the base of the nearer column. This begins a permanent Charleston Stonehenge - and perhaps a small park around the bicycle / jogging lane, with water fountain and park benches will appear to further commemorate this site?

November 12 2005 - just after 6am

Sigh - I could not stand the suspense and at the same time was too lazy to stay up all night and watch the action. So this morning (Saturday, Nov 12, 2005, 6:10 am) I went over to catch the ending. Obviously, IT already ended. Here is East Bay (6:34 am) - with no Pearman Girders spanning the street. Paul's team took down two spans of girders between about 8pm last night and sometime before 6 this morning. Nice work with minimal disruption of East Bay traffic!

The day shift was just starting inside the port. Here is a sleeping 1250, Michael shining it up a bit and of course, our slowly disappearing Stonehenge (6:44 am)

Making my way back home, (there is a Pearman segment associated with this page) the team has set up and hammering away at the adjacent pier cap (7:44 am). Note the left pier with the red markings at the bottom - "SAVE" - this will be a memory of the Pearman Bridge - and perhaps my dream - a small park/rest area for joggers entering or exiting the Ravenel bike/jogging lane.

Another look at our monolithic Stonehenge

and for emphasis

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C. Frank Starmer