Many times I write about things or places that I have learned about but never experienced. Last week was the anniversary of a landmark that is located only an hour from my home.
On January 5, 1933, construction began on the Golden Gate Bridge….connecting the San Francisco Peninsula with the southern end of Marin County. A suspension bridge with a center span of 3,000 feet was nearly twice the length of any in existence. and was supposed to cost 100 million dollars.
Eventually, O’Shaughnessy and Strauss concluded they could build a pure suspension bridge within a practical range of $25-30 million with a main span at least 4,000 feet. The construction plan still faced opposition, including litigation, from many sources. By the time most of the obstacles were cleared, the great depression of 1929 had begun, limiting financing options, so officials convinced voters to support $35 million in bonded indebtedness, citing the jobs that would be created for the project. However, the bonds couldn’t be sold until 1932, when San-Francisco based Bank of America agreed to buy the entire project in order to help the local economy.
The Golden Gate Bridge officially opened on May 27, 1937, the longest bridge span in the world at the time. The first public crossing had taken place the day before, when 200,000 people walked, ran and even roller skated over the new bridge.
With its tall towers and famous red paint job, the bridge quickly became a famous American landmark, and a symbol of San Francisco.