May History Hits: The Golden Gate

In terms of architectural brilliance and engineering prowess, few structures rival the marvel of the Golden Gate Bridge. Spanning the Golden Gate Strait in San Francisco, this suspension bridge has captured the imagination of millions since its opening in May 1937.

The Golden Gate Bridge was designed and developed by the determination and vision of several remarkable individuals. Chief among them was Joseph Strauss the engineer who spearheaded the project. Strauss assembled a team of experts, including architect Irving Morrow and engineer Charles Ellis, who were instrumental in shaping the bridge’s design and ensuring its structural integrity.

Building a structure of such magnitude presented challenges, such as treacherous waters with strong currents and turbulent winds. However, the engineers persevered, employing innovative techniques and advancing bridge-building technology. The project took over four years to complete and employed over 10,000 workers.

On May 27, 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge was unveiled in a grand celebration. An estimated 200,000 spectators gathered to witness its inauguration, each of them walking across the newly completed structure. While Californians marveled at their new landmark, the original article from the New York Times announcing its opening wasn’t as impressed. The writer remarks that the Golden Gate’s design was surely derived from that of the George Washington Bridge, which connects New Jersey and Manhattan. They go on to say, “it would be wrong to say that the Golden Gate is a better suspension bridge than the George Washington” (1). Apparently, no matter the time period, the rivalry between New York and California is strong.

Despite its dismissal by some on the East Coast, the completion of the Golden Gate Bridge marked a milestone in American engineering history. Its imposing red-orange towers, suspension cables, and Art Deco design have been featured in movies, books, and art alike, ensuring its place as a beloved landmark and symbol of San Francisco.


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