The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most recognizable bridges anywhere in the world and a quintessential part of the San Francisco skyline.
While it is absolutely gorgeous, there’s a lot more to its history than you might imagine.
Here are some interesting Golden Gate Bridge facts to know:
1. It Spans the Golden Gate
The Golden Gate Bridge crosses over the Golden Gate, which is the name for the strait which connects San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. The Golden Gate Bridge connects the San Francisco Peninsula with the Marin Headlands (Marin Peninsula).
The road which runs across the Golden Gate Bridge between San Francisco and Marin County is U.S. 101.
2. It’s One of the “Wonders of the Modern World”
The American Society of Civil Engineers turned a general sentiment into a solid Golden Gate Bridge fact. In 1994, they surveyed people all around the world to come up with the seven wonders of the modern world.
“As a tribute to modern society’s ability to achieve the unachievable, reach unreachable heights, and scorn the notion of “it can’t be done,” in 1994 ASCE sought nominations from across the globe for the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. The chosen projects pay tribute to the greatest civil engineering achievements of the 20th century.” – ASCE website
Along with the Golden Gate Bridge, the other marvels of 20th century engineering include the Empire State Building, the Channel Tunnel, Itaipu Dam, the Netherlands North Sea Protection Works, the Panama Canal, and the CN Tower.
3. Before It Opened, Ferry Was the Only Short Option
For more than 100 years before it was built, a ferry service, starting in 1820, carried people between San Francisco and Marin County. The boat ride, once for humans only, later took cars, as well, to increase its income. A trip from Marin County’s Sausalito Ferry Terminal to San Francisco’s Hyde Street Pier took about 20 minutes.
4. It Took a While to Garner Support
A bridge crossing the Golden Gate strait had been talked about for years and years, but it wasn’t until a 1916 article in the San Francisco Bulletin by engineering student James Wilkins that the bridge idea started gaining traction.
Then, the City Engineer for San Francisco estimated that a bridge at this spot would cost around $100 million (equal to about $2.3 billion today), so they asked for more economical proposals from engineers in the general public. Joseph Strauss’s proposal drew their attention, and he was tasked with leading the project as chief engineer.
For more than 10 years that followed, he tried to allay concerns from citizens, industries, and various government departments. But finally, in August of 1930, the US War Department issued its final construction permit (they owned the land on both sides of the Golden Gate strait).
5. It’s a Sibling to the Manhattan Bridge in NYC
Although he had made an initial design proposal and was in charge of the overall design and engineering, Joseph Strauss didn’t have a solid knowledge of suspension bridges, and not many people liked the looks of his original design. So, three other engineers really designed the Golden Gate Bridge.
In 1930, Strauss hired Irving Foster Morrow, and it was he who designed the two tall bridge towers. Irving Morrow also gave the Golden Gate Bridge its “International Orange” color scheme. Leon Solomon Moisseiff, one of the principal engineers of the Manhattan Bridge in New York City, helped to design the suspension span through the two towers, with structural edits made by Charles Alton Ellis.
6. It Took Just Over 4 Years to Build
After issuing a bond for $35 million (about $520 million today) to finance the bridge’s creation, construction started on January 5, 1933. A month and a half later, at the Presidio’s Crissy Field on February 26, they held an official groundbreaking ceremony. The bridge was completed under budget by $1.3 million and opened on May 27, 1937.
Well, that’s all our Golden Gate Bridge facts for now, but we’ll add more to this as time goes by. We hope this article has helped you appreciate this modern marvel of engineering! Got any questions, feedback, or other facts about the Golden Gate Bridge we should include? Let us know in the comments below, and thanks for reading!
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