Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tag Tuesday - Postcard, and a Story: Tale of Two Bridges, part 1

Anything to do with a postcard, that's the theme at Kard Krazy today.

(click for details)

I copied the back of an old French postcard and made it into a tag, extra postage stamps were added and I rubber stamped flowers on the tag. Embellishments include striped tape, velvet flower and 3 tiny keys; distress inks were also used.

with apologies to Charles Dickens
(9th in a series of Tuesday Stories)

As I have mentioned before, we lived in Charleston SC before moving up to the mountains. Charleston is a very historic city and has a lot to offer anyone who visits it, from history to nature and enjoying the beaches. However, two of its landmarks are no longer there, but they are etched into the memories of many people - the bridges which crossed the Cooper River.

The first bridge, named the Grace Memorial bridge for a former city mayor, was quite a feat for its time. When it was built, it connected Charleston with Mt. Pleasant and Hwy. 17, which was a major North/South highway long before interstates were built. The Grace bridge was completed and opened in 1929.

As you can see from this old postcard from my collection, it was a very big deal and when it was opened, Charlestonians celebrated for three days! Each lane was only ten feet wide and it was two way traffic. Of course, the cars were much smaller back then!

Opening Day

It remained the only bridge over the Cooper River until construction was started on another bridge in the early 1960's. By this time, traffic was very heavy across the bridge and cars and trucks were much larger than the bridge was built to handle. I remember when my father used to take us for Sunday drives, he often maneuvered the trip to include the bridge, much to my mother's dismay and the children's excitement! It was breathtaking in several ways- both the view and the adrenalin rush of having cars and big tractor trailers come toward you with no room for mistakes. When I had driver's ed in high school, we were required to drive over the bridge before we could pass our driving test. 

Sometimes drivers approaching the bridge from the Mt. Pleasant side would simply stop when the bridge loomed into view, and be afraid to proceed. The county police began offering a service to drivers who would cross the bridge - one officer would drive their car over, and the other officer would follow in the patrol car! In 1946, a freighter hit the bridge, taking out a span and several people lost their lives when their cars plunged into the river far below.

When the Pearman bridge opened, authorities made the Grace a one way bridge coming toward Charleston. A lot of folks would still be nervous driving over it and would drive squarely down the middle. I remember being behind some of those poor people (usually with an out of state tag) and I would get so irritated because not only could I not go around them, they were driving much slower than I wanted to go. When my daughter got her license, she began to drive over the bridge and handled it very well. 

I loved that old bridge, it was great fun to go over in a motorcycle, and I was fearless driving my Excursion over it. I think having driven it when it was two way traffic made driving it as a one way bridge seem a piece of cake. It was like a roller coaster - a steep incline, then almost down to the ground in the middle and back up another incline to finish the trip. When a car broke down on the bridge, there was no place to pull over (except at the middle section of the bridge) so traffic would be backed up for hours. When Charleston started holding its Bridge Run in 1978, they would use the Grace Bridge (also known as the Old Cooper River Bridge by this time) until the bridge became too fragile to withstand the constant pounding of hundreds of pairs of feet. I never ran the bridge, but I did walk in the Walkers group and it was a glorious view to be at the top of a span and see the land and water. 
(Next week, the conclusion of the story)

If you want an idea of how narrow the lanes were on the Grace, this video is a good way to find out.


  1. I love the tag! The story is so interesting, love knowing "behind the scene"!

  2. I love your tag, Rebecca. I remember riding with my Grandmother in the car as she drove over the bridge...it was so scary! Great memories, though, of summers spent in the most beautiful city in America! Thanks!
    Take care,

  3. I love the rich, vintage feel of your tag. Such perfect little touches and pops of color. Lovely. And I enjoyed reading about your memories of the bridges too.

  4. I love everything about this tag, including the colors you've chosen.

  5. Your tag is awesome - I'm really loving red on vintage things more and more! What an interesting story about the bridges you shared! Diann

  6. Rebecca, your tag is beautiful. And your story of the bridges was a trip into the past. Not from Charleston, but I do remember some VERY narrow bridges from my childhood. Three of my elementary school friends and I spent a delightful 4 days a year ago in Charleston to celebrate our three-quarters of a century birthdays. It is indeed a place everyone should visit at least once.

  7. Beautiful tag! I think that bridge would freak me out, too.... I watched the video, and there's no shoulder! Eeeek - not good for people who are afraid of heights and can look right straight down, LOL! Fun post!

  8. Love the look and feel of the tag! Great colors! Loved the story. I remember it being the only time I was glad that I was not allowed to sit by the doors when you and Jeter were in the car. It was scary! Love you!

  9. That's beautiful, love the little Eiffel Tower.

  10. beautiful tag, lovely details
    hugs Pia

  11. Fabulous tag...and wonderful story!

  12. What a great tag, Love all your embellishments!

  13. Love the vintage feel of the tag and enjoyed reading your story.

  14. Really cool tag! Great idea to copy an old postcard. I love those tiny keys!

  15. Love your tag and all its elements, the little keys and Eiffel Tower charms are great,I also like that you added real postage stamps to it.

  16. I really love this, a great design with the red and black colors going. Fabulous!


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