Happy 75th Birthday, Golden Gate Bridge!
It has been billed the most photographed bridge in the world. Regardless of whether that’s fact or fiction, the Golden Gate Bridge, with its Art Deco design and vibrant colour is undoubtedly an iconic piece of architecture that captures the hearts and imagination of San Francisco visitors.
While you may know that the bridge's unmistakable hue is called "International Orange", here are a few bits of trivia to test your Golden Gate knowledge.
Did You Know?
- While Joseph Strauss is credited with designing and building the bridge, it was actually Irving Morrow who revised his design to become the finished bridge that we see today.
- Unsurprisingly, building the Golden Gate Bridge was no cheap task. A.P. Giannini, founder of the Bank of Italy (later to become the Bank of America), purchased the first $6 million of bonds to start the project. Without Giannini's assistance, it is doubtful that the Golden Gate Bridge would have ever been built.
- On average, over 100,000 vehicles cross the bridge every day. On October 27, 1989,10 days after the Loma Prieta earthquake that shutdown the Oakland Bay Bridge, an all-time record of 162,414 vehicles crossed the Golden Gate Bridge north and southbound.
- The Sierra Club, a well-known organisation, opposed the construction of the bridge based on environmental concerns.
- The main cables of the bridge span 80,000 miles, which is enough to circle the earth's circumference 3 times.
- For the 50th anniversary, the bridge was closed to traffic and open to the public for a celebratory bridge walk. Officials expected 50,000 people to show, but an estimated 800,000 inspired people came out to honour the bridge and participate in the festivities. Trying to hold the greatest load the bridge ever had to support, massive turnout caused the bridge to flatten out and reportedly drop 10 feet with the suspension cables stretched "tight as harp strings". Unfortunately, the weight caused the bridge to sink. Although it was not enough to push the bridge beyond its limits (it’s expected to be able to withstand a drop of 15 feet and able to sway 27 feet from side to side), it did give officials cause to reconsider a repeat for future celebrations.
Celebrating 75 Years
The Golden Gate Festival will feature activities that include history and educational presentations, a display of cars from 1937 to the present, an historic watercraft parade, music and dance stages, art installations, films, and displays by corporate and media partners. At about 9:30 pm, the weekend celebration will conclude with a spectacular 75th anniversary fireworks display and grand finale.
The festival will offer thousands of people the opportunity to reflect on the beauty of the Bridge, learn about its history, and be inspired through performances and exhibits.
The 75th anniversary public celebration will be a spectacular event on May 27, 2012, spanning the waterfront from Fort Point to Pier 39. Major program venues include Crissy Field and the Marina Green, and additional activities and events will be held at the Presidio, Fort Mason Center, Ghiraradelli Square, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Pier 39.
Golden Gate Bridge Tours
San Francisco Urban Adventures offers two different ways to experience the Golden Gate Bridge on two different daily tours.
The Bridge and Beach tour involves a spectacular 4.5 mile hike along the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, with a walk under the Golden Gate Bridge and continuous views back on the bridge from cliff tops and beaches during the hike.
The San Francisco Kaleidoscope tour finishes with a spectacular cruise under the Golden Gate Bridge on a wind-powered catamaran – now that’s a unique way to see the Golden Gate Bridge!
Visiting the Golden Gate Bridge
Even if you can't be present to enjoy the festivities for this year's anniversary, future visitors will be able to benefit from some recent improvement projects.
Revitalization of the plaza will include expanding the area to provide more space for gathering and improve circulation. They are also restoring historic views, improving signage, parking and trail connections, and removing some existing features to reflect the landmark status of the setting. Bridge exhibits, developed with funding from the National Science Foundation, are also slated for installation in the area.
A new facility will welcome visitors, providing orientation and information services, house exhibits, and will offer high-quality commemorative and interpretive merchandise. The 3,500 square foot pavilion will occupy the northern portion of the existing parking lot, across the plaza from the Bridge Café.
Complementing the Bridge plaza enhancement will be improvements to segments of the Coastal and Bay Trails near the Bridge. Two new overlooks, on the west side of the Bridge, will provide dramatic viewing points for visitors.
It’s a fantastic time to visit San Francisco, and we will welcome you with open arms. If you’re interested in hopping on one of our San Francisco tours, just click the link and go ahead and book. Hope to see you soon!
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