On August 8, 1929, a grand three day celebration and parade opened the first bridge to span Charleston Harbor. Built as a private toll bridge in 17 months for $6 million, it was a major link between Maine and Florida. With its steep inclines, dip, and sharp mid-way curve, the bridge was like a giant rollercoaster. In 1943, it was named to honor former Charleston Mayor John P. Grace. The state purchased the bridge in 1945 and removed the tolls.