I love the sound of the Sweetgrass Skyway for the Cooper River Bridge. At the same time I think Arthur Ravenel deserves plenty of recognition for his role in getting the bridge built as well as his other accomplishments. But I take exception to naming such a large and dominant structure for an individual.
I drive home every day on Harborview Road and cross the Dr. Julian Thomas Buxton Bridge. Though I only met Dr. Buxton once, when I cross that bridge I generally reflect on his reputation as a true gentleman and effective leader.
I think of how he contributed to Charleston in ways that will likely outlast the bridge, or what it must have been like to raise seven children in the house that is right around the corner from the bridge.
It’s a neighborhood bridge, in Dr. Buxton’s neighborhood. It is a relatively small structure, and it seems appropriate.
I also know Sen. Ravenel contributed tremendously to this community, probably in ways that most of us will never completely appreciate.
But the bridge over the Cooper River is an enormous, soaring, architectural extravaganza. It welcomes the world’s bounty on ships from countries that represent every race and diaspora.
It is home to one of the most well attended 10K runs, attracting runners from all over the world. It is the maritime gateway to our city of enormously rich cultural heritage.
In the word “Sweetgrass” visitors may feel our pride of heritage, and in “Skyway” our excitement for the bridge’s architectural beauty or the world that travels beneath it.
Although enormously admired for its engineering, the Golden Gate Bridge is as well known and beloved as it is partly because of its name.
The “Sweetgrass Skyway,” by name alone, would inspire artwork, poetry, love letters, novel titles, movies, etc. There must be some other bridge or building that is important enough to bear the senator’s name.
Stone Post Road