Last week, San Francisco's famous landmark, the Golden Gate Bridge celebrated its 72nd birthday. Besides being beautiful, the iconic bridge that opened to pedestrians only, on May 27th, 1937 (drivers had to wait an extra day), was also an engineering marvel, for it was the longest suspension bridge ever built.
While the 1.7 mile bridge has dropped down to the 8th longest, it remains one of the worlds most beautiful and most visited bridges, thanks to its reddish-orange color, tall towers and stupendous views. It is estimated that more than nine million tourists from all over the world visit the bridge every year.
Before it was built, the only way from San Francisco to Marin County was via ferry. As the bay became increasingly congested with ferry boats, an engineer named Joseph B. Strauss, suggested building a bridge.
However, the country was in the midst of a depression and he faced a lot of opposition. While a lot of people were concerned about the cost, which some engineers estimated at over $100 million USD, others questioned whether it was even possible to build a bridge due to the high winds, strong water currents, not to mention, the 500ft depth in the middle part of the bay.
It took Joesph ten years, but he prevailed with an overwhelming consensus from the people of the Bay Area who realized how badly the bridge was needed.
While his original design (see pic above) would have been much cheaper, it was rejected as not being 'elegant' enough. It was only when two other engineers re-did the design, that it passed the muster of the authorities and people of San Francisco.
The bridge took five years and $35 million USD to build. On opening day on May 27th, 1937, over 200,000 people walked, rode or rolled across it, and the celebrations lasted for more than a week.
Today, 72 years later, the Golden Gate Bridge remains the pride and joy of all Bay Area residents!
sources: wikipedia.org,sfgate.com, nowpublic.com