Construction Starts On The Golden Gate Bridge – 1/5/1933

World History |


Construction begins on the Golden Gate Bridge on January 5th, 1933; this is destined to become one of the greatest well-known landmarks in America. The Golden Gate finishes being constructed in 1937 with a total suspension span of 4,200 feet; this makes it the longest suspension bridge in the world. Roughly 2 billion automobiles have traveled over the bridge in directions going both north and southbound since the public was allowed to use it in May of 1937.

The naming of the bridge did not come because its orange color is so distinctive, although it does give added visibility to vessels passing in the famous fog of San Francisco; the name comes from the Golden Gate Strait as the San Francisco Bay eventually opens into the Pacific Ocean. The bridge connects the city from the northern part of San Francisco to Marin County, California and spans the strait. The only way to get between the two areas was by using a ferry boat until the construction of the bridge was completed.

The Golden Gate project in the early 20s had the involvement of Joseph B. Strauss (1870-1938); he became the chief engineer of the bridge and was a native of Ohio who constructed many bridges throughout the U.S. Strauss and those he collaborated with faced many difficulties from the start which included from skeptical officials of the city much opposition. They had many concerns such as ferry operators that were concerned that their business would be impacted by the bridge, city officials were worried about what the costs would be and issues brought up from environmentalists.

Other concerns came from some of the members belonging to the engineering community who felt that construction of the bridge was technically impossible. Also, acquiring funding would be difficult considering the Great Depression was just starting; a bond issue valued at $35 million in order to finance building of the bridge was granted in 1930 in California. New problems appeared once building began as workers needed to deal with fog and extreme winds in the Golden Gate Strait as well as powerful ocean currents. Tragically, the construction of the bridge resulted in eleven workers perishing; February 17th, 1937 saw ten workers dying from their scaffolding penetrated through the safety net.

The Golden Gate Bridge, despite all of the issues it faced along with its art deco design, had finally finished construction in four years on May 27th, 1937; roughly 200,000 individuals appeared to celebrate the bridge’s opening. Sending a signal to the world that the bridge was opened for traffic, President Franklin D. Roosevelt touched a telegraph key from the White House; the original toll for using the bridge each way was 50 cents.

The Golden Gate remained the world’s longest suspension bridge for almost 30 years until it was surpassed by the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge; the bridge was 60 feet longer and officially opened in 1964. The Golden Gate Bridge had its 1 billionth vehicle cross over in February of 1985. Presently, over 41 million vehicles travel each year across the bridge.

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