2 Your Roots: The Ben Sawyer Bridge

2 Your Roots

Mount Pleasant, S.C. (WCBD) – Opened in 1945, the Ben Sawyer Bridge serves as the connection from Mount Pleasant to Sullivan’s Island.

The historic bridge has stood through trying chapters of Charleston’s history, taking a tough hit to its structure during Hurricane Hugo in September of 1989. The Ben Sawyer was turned sideways but made a quick comeback and was fully-operational in October. Today, tourists and locals alike enjoy the bridge’s views over the Intracoastal Waterway.

Whether you are driving, biking, or running, the Ben Sawyer provides great sights of Sullivan’s Island and Mount Pleasant, but do you know who the historic bridge is named after?

According to the South Carolina Encyclopedia, the bridge bears the name of a man born in Aiken County on October 22nd of 1890, Benjamin Mack Sawyer.

In his lifetime, Sawyer grew up to acquire an impressive resume. He received his undergraduate and graduate degree from the University of South Carolina, he enlisted in the Army and before his discharge, rose to the ranks of First Lieutenant. In 1918, he married his wife, Ruth Louise Simmons, and had three children.

Sawyer held positions as the First Secretary of the State Budget Commission, the Clerk of the South Carolina House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee, and Secretary Treasurer of the Highway commission before becoming Chief Highway Commissioner in 1926.

In his 14 years as Chief Commissioner, “The miles of roadways doubled and two out of three of those miles were paved…” according to The South Carolina Encyclopedia. Sawyer served as Chief Commissioner until his death in 1940.

Today, the Ben Sawyer Bridge serves as one of 8 “movable” bridges in the state.

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