The Golden Gate Bridge Turns 83: Happy Birthday to Our Grand Lady of the West!

This week celebrates a momentous moment in art deco history: the day that the Golden Gate Bridge officially opened on May 27th, 1937. From symbols of America’s resilience from sea to shining sea, to her disastrous cameo appearances in films like Planet of the Apes and Godzilla, the Golden Gate Bridge remains a fixed icon of elegance and assertion, the defining beauty of San Francisco and life out West. Not to mention, we consider ourselves lucky that she should grace Marjorie’s city with her hopeful presence.

Enjoy these unique facts about the Golden Gate Bridge, and we hope that perhaps you might find yourself traveling to her shores in your next adventures.

The Golden Gate– Before the Bridge

The Golden Gate remained a long channel between Marin and San Francisco counties, where the San Francisco Bay met the Pacific Ocean. To get across, ferries would traverse the Gate daily.

Via Golden Gate Bridge Highway & Transportation District

One of Many New Deal Initiatives Built in San Francisco During the Great Depression

Although the concept for the bridge connecting Marin and San Francisco was an idea since 1923 due to the rapid growth of the Bay Area, construction wasn’t started until 1933, when the bridge was built as part of the New Deal implemented by President Roosevelt to boost the economy of America with various projects and initiatives that stabilized banks and created thousands of jobs across the country. As for the construction workers, they were all well trained but basic local laborers, proud of the crowning glory that would be the Golden Gate Bridge and a personal symbol for hope after dark times.

Screen Shot 2020-05-27 at 10.37.21 PM
Via Click Americana

At the Time of Its Completion, it Had the Longest Bridge Span in the World

When the suspension-style bridge was completed, the Golden Gate Bridge was 1.7 miles long with its main span between the two towers at 4,200 feet, making it the longest span of any bridge in the world until 1933.

Its Design is a Testament to Its Time

The Empire State Building isn’t the only famous example of art deco architecture– just look west towards the Golden Gate! There mere many redesigns to the aesthetic of the bridge– the very first too clunky and industrial, and another in an off-putting neo-classical design. Ultimately, it was Irving Morrow who incorporated the famous art deco touches of the bridge like the tower shapes, streetlights, and railings that made it a masterful vision of modernity. As for its deep rustic orange color? It was picked personally by Morrow to let it beautifully contrast with the natural elements around it while standing visible against the infamous thick fog of the Bay.GGB1

Via the California Historical Society

She is a Hollywood Starlet in Her Own Right

The filmography for the Golden Gate Bride is rather impressive. Even if she doesn’t have her own Star on the Walk of Fame, her starring roles in various films across the years (X Men, The Last Stand, Interview with the Vampire, The Princess Diaries, Ant-Man, Crazy in Alabama, Star Trek, The Voyage Home, A View to a Kill and more), carry on her legacy as a place for action, love, mystery, and yes, destruction (looking at you, Godzilla and Magneto). For the more classically enthused film fanatics, you can spot her early years in movies like Dark Passage (1947) and Vertigo (1958).

Via Hoodline

To learn more about the Golden Gate Bridge and planning future visits, see resources from the Golden Gate Bridge Highway & Transportation District here.


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