Spanning the Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco will forever stand out as one of the most beautiful cities in California.  With its hills, flora, and water elements it is certainly topographically distinct and irresistibly welcoming to tourists and visitors from all over the world.  With all of the sights and sounds of San Francisco, one can visit sea lions basking on the dock, a prison set apart from the mainland on an island, and tall sequoia and eucalyptus trees that present majesty in appearance. 

But one of San Francisco’s landmark attractions will forever stand on the pages of history.  The Golden Gate Bridge opened in 1937 was the longest suspension bridge in the world at 4200 feet in length.  In 2016, it is now the 13th longest in the world and is surpassed in size only by bridges built in New York, Hong Kong, Japan, UK, and several other countries. 

It may not be the longest at this point, but it will certainly remain one of the most beautiful.  The bridge connects the city of San Francisco with Marin County and Sausalito on the other side of the bay.  Its magnificent orange color with Art Deco design elements allows it to be more visible during San Francisco’s periods of heavy fog, which is often times on a daily basis.  Lighting enhances the bridge’s beauty at night by outlining the towers and the cables. 

What is it that draws outsiders to want to see this awesome piece of architecture?  Bicyclists and pedestrians love the bridge not only because of the view, but because of the safety rails and metal curbs that protect them from the traffic on the six lanes of roadway across the bridge.  Those driving or riding public transportation over the bridge are awed by its seemingly never-ending length. 

The history of the bridge is also a reminder of determination on the part of Joseph Strauss, the original engineer who created the idea of building the expansive bridge.  He faced much opposition at the time from the Southern Pacific Railroad who owned the ferry company that would lose much business with the construction of such a bridge.  The navy was afraid that should the bridge be sabotaged during wartime, it could cause the shut-down of an entrance to one of the main harbors.  Union groups felt compelled to insist that their workers should be involved with a construction of such magnitude. 

Even though Strauss had built other bridges, he was not a suspension bridge builder.  He brought in many others who were more familiar and who had expertise with this type of design.  He downplayed their help and eventually took most of the credit for building the phenomenal bridge.  The cost of the project was approximately $35 million.  Safety netting was placed under the construction of the bridge and helped to save the lives of many of the construction workers. 

The bridge was completed and officially opened on May 27, 1937.  The week-long celebration for its opening, along with an official notice from President Roosevelt in Washington DC to begin vehicle traffic over the bridge, and the Golden Gate Bridge to this day is considered one of the wonders of the modern world.


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