The iconic Golden Gate Bridge is probably the most recognized bridges on the planet because it represents various things. The bridge serves many people who live within the San Francisco Bay Area thus making it a huge symbol for the city itself. When you think of the west this famous bridge is what you imagine. The Golden Gate represents struggle, freedom, hard work and above all America.
Golden Gate Bridge is just under 80 years old. Ground was broken in 1933, to eventually be finished on May 27, 1937. At the time the longest suspension bridge in the world. Coated with what most people think is a color red, is really International Orange.
San Francisco Bay Area in the late 19th century was a vital destination. The Gold Rush ignited big change to the Bay Area, the port of Oakland showed its value to the area. The Bay Area had it good.
But with all its goods there's still room to improve. The Bay Area lacked a convenient ways of connecting places like Marin, Napa to San Francisco and beyond. Ferry services were doing it then, But it lacked a quick and easy way transporting goods throughout the area and not just transporting but just an easier for anyone to get around. Especially with the invention of the affordable car.
Since the late 19th century proposals had been made for the structure, but denied. It was looked as impossible to make such a structure of that length and then add in the factors of strong currents, unpredictable swirling winds, and the deep waters that job called for.
But one young engineer in 1916 saw to be a reachable goal. James Wilkins a former engineering student throughout a proposal that would not be taken lightly. Thus to have a respected poet an engineer Joseph Strauss pick up the proposal and ran with it. The proposal was approved by the Department of War because they owned the land.
But by 1937, Strauss broke ground with what would eventually be a collective project. Strauss brought in some of the brightest minds to help construct the bridge. He brought in Leon Moisseiff (designed Manhattan Bridge), Irving Morrow, and Charles Ellis.
Although Morrow was let go by Strauss due to undisclosed reasons. Morrow had probably the biggest contributions to the bridge. He designed the overall shape of the towers, lighting schemes, and probably it's most famous contribution the idea of coating it with its iconic International Orange color. There had been many ideas on what to paint it. Some included black, Navy blue with yellow stripes, but Morrow was having none of it. He said the orange color brought the natural beauty with it's surroundings and stood out from the sea to sky.
Eleven men died in making the bridge. One missed the safety net plummeting to the sea, Strauss designed the net for their safety. And ten were crushed by scaffolding equipment. Nineteen men who survived life threatening instances. Those men created the Halfway to Hell Club.
On May 27, 1937, the bridge was completed and ready for service. A big opening day was celebrated. It was a week long event with over 200, 000 people crossing the bridge on foot. It cost $35 Million dollars and under budget under the watchful eye of Joseph Strauss. Standing at 776 feet tall, street level at 500 feet above water. She holds over 80,000 miles worth of wire and weighs in at 887,000 tons. And at the end the magnificent man made icon measures in at 1.7 miles long.
After attacks on Pearl Harbor, it left the nation on high alert. Meaning the whole west coast was on watch for any attack coming from the west. And in San Francisco on the Golden Gate Bridge it was no different. Soldiers would be on foot protecting it as well as on look out for sign of hostiles approaching because a lot of the supplies that were used for the battles of the Pacific were located in the Bay.
Unfortunately as with many crown jewels there is also a dark side. The Golden Gate Bridge is no exception to this. Many have chosen it to be their final destination in life. Since its opening back in 1937, over 1,000 individuals have taken their lives by leaping to their death. They fall from about 260ft at around 70 mph in which the four second drop either kills them instantly or kills them slowly to a painful death. Only 1% of the so called jumpers have survived the leap.
Even though the bridge has a wild hair up its nose it's still the real deal. The bridge is more than orange steel and wires holding asphalt above water. It's much bigger than that. It gives people hope, it represents that anything can be accomplished in this crazy life. People go through great lengths to lay eyes on it just to be reminded of hope as their breath is taken away by the sight of orange icon. The Statue of Liberty may be the symbol of the nation but the Golden Gate Bridge is symbol of achieving a degree of success.