Setting old stones with new methods lays a solid foundation for future pathways of our life together.
Here’s a Blue Ridge Parkway bridge, near my home, built when I was a kid long ago, in the 1960’s.
It’s a well-built public-works project.
Incredible strength was laid into the bridge’s inner structure when concrete was poured around a steel rebar framework. Unseen in the finished structure, the silent steel still contributes to ongoing structural integrity and function. Internal strength assured the bridge’s longevity, allowing the structure to bear up under the heavy demands of continuous motored traffic for many and many a year.
This solid piece of work has been sustaining motored traffic for most of my 68 years.
Use of reinforcing steel roads, tied together with wire like cages, then buried forever with gravel aggregate in solid 'crete mud, is a relatively new architectural practice in construction history. The internal rebar method was devised by constructors over time, to assure deep integrity and resilience in vast concrete structures.
Such built-in reinforcement has enabled folks to progressively build bigger buildings, longer roads and bridges, as civilization marches on.
This strong, continuous, time-tested concrete underbelly enables motorists to drive without stopping, on a road that crosses o'er a road that passes beneath it. In this photo, you can see the structure’s rock-hard underbelly, which bears the surface imprints of wooden planks that were used in forming the main arch when the concrete was cast, back in the mid-1960’s.
Certainly our attention is drawn to the large veneer stones on the outside face of the construction. These chiseled rocks, having been skillfully cut with calculated angles, lend a classic appearance to the roadway, which would have otherwise been a dull utilitarian construct.
Thus did the bridge become something far more than an elevated roadway; it stands as an artistic statement of architectural continuity, in agreement with its older, 1930’s-era bridge “ancestors.”
The stone masons who erected similar Blue Ridge bridges back in the earlier days were ancestors--whether by profession or by blood-- of the rock masons who set these stones three decades later.
Such chisel-sculpted work becomes a masonary tip-of-the-trowel to time-honored traditions of stone masons who lived and worked on this same 469-mile parkway back in the day, and then eventually crossed that great celestial bridge to eternity.
Having stood the tests of time and traffic, this good work stands as a long-lasting homage to both structural integrity and graceful design.
About six miles up the road from the bridge pictured above, there's an S-curved structure that I tied steel on, back in the early 1980's-- the Linn Cove Viaduct on Grandfather Mountain. It's a very special construct, being the final missing-link in the middle of a 469-mile, 50-year Blue Ridge Parkway project. But this one was special--not for the classic stonework--but for the cutting-edge technology of building the thing from the top down, instead of the bottom up!
Here’s solid evidence that in this life it’s a good idea to do things right. Build it to last, whatever it is you’re working on in your time here. Our children’s children will notice the quality and be inspired to do great works in their own time.