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.

October 13, 2006:
Sparky is back in business

Sparky, just as a reality check has been restoring his building skills - here a new walkway - the finished part.

and the work-in-progress part

And what a view

Meanwhile here is the current state of the Mt. Pleasant observation pier

and looking back toward's Mt. Pleasant. When I left in March - where there were only footings and pilings now stands a structure.

The shore-side origin of the observation pier.

and a few remaining Grace feet

What used to be the Grace on ramp

and the take-off point

Cousin Arthurs watching over Grace's feet

and watching over the growing observation pier

Meanwhile, on the Charleston side of the river, here is a view of the footings and support for supporting the mid-span section of the Grace truss

and the support structure

I think this is the J. Cashman, the 995 cleaner-upper that is moving residual concrete and rebar debris from the river bottom to adjacent barges. There are probably a few Frank fragments of T-3 here - left over from Mickey's March 22 farewell

A closer look at the 995

The remaining sections of the Pearman and Grace trusses as well as Grace's crutch

and a closer look at the feet of Grace's crutches

Looking up at the support

and looking along the long axis of the truss - look at that symmetry - nice work!

Additional casing

and poking their head up - with Chris' 7550 in the background

A look from the other side

The Port worksite

From the other side - a good view of the 7550 and both Grace and Pearman trusses

and more casings (?)

And to the side - sections of the supports removed a couple of weeks ago

But Sparky is trapped - a 30 min wait while the train folks change shifts

You can see that he escaped - I have his photos. Stay tuned

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

C. Frank Starmer