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The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California is one of the most beautiful, and most photographed, bridges in the world.
Fort Point is an historic Civil War era masonry building partially under the south end of the massive bridge.
A yearlong celebration will mark the 75th anniversary of the iconic structure. Numerous improvements to enhance visitors experience include renovation of the Round House and conversion to a staging center, construction of a new welcome and interpretive center to be known as the Golden Gate Bridge Pavilion, improvments to surrounding parks and more.
A public celebration will be held on Crissy Field over Memorial Day weekend and “75 Tributes to the Bridge” will be presented by community-based organizations and public agencies throughout the year. Full, updated information is available on the Golden Gate Bridge 75th Anniversary site.
Linking San Francisco with Marin County the Golden Gate Bridge is a 1.7 mile-long suspension bridge that can be crossed by car, on bicycles or on foot
There are parking and viewing areas at either end of the bridge.
The Marin Headlands side of San Francisco’s GGB is a great place to take pictures—such as this July 4th fireworks photo or the panorama just below it—and watch freighters and sailboats cruise under the bridge.
You can enjoy a view from the Marin Headlands that stretches from Golden Gate Park and Twin Peaks to The Bay Bridge, Alcatraz Island and beyond.
If you visit San Francisco there are many double-decker bus or city tours available that will take you across the bridge or to one of the viewing areas and most wine tours from San Francisco cross the bridge.
Nearly every San Francisco Bay cruise passes under the Golden Gate Bridge for a view you can’t get any other way.
Golden Gate Bridge History
The Golden Gate Bridge, completed after more than four years of construction at a cost of $35 million, opened to vehicular traffic on May 28, 1937 at twelve o’clock noon when President Franklin D. Roosevelt pressed a telegraph key in the White House announcing the event. The GGB opening was ahead of schedule and under budget.
Joseph Baerman Strauss (top section is about the Bay Bridge, scroll down for GGB information) had a dream of building a bridge across the Golden Gate. Cincinnati born and trained with Chicago engineering experience, Strauss built his reputation for bridge building in San Francisco with his Bascule Bridge Co. which was responsible for two historic SF drawbridges still in operation near the AT&T ballpark: the Fourth Street bridge and the “Lefty” O’Doul bridge on Third Street.
Though Strauss only lived a year beyond completion of construction of the GGB he disproved the conventional wisdom of the time;
“No one can bridge the Golden Gate because of insurmountable difficulties which are apparent to all who give thought to the idea.”
Swift currents, deep water and strong winds were the most obvious of the ‘insurmountable difficulties’ Strauss had to deal with.
The cable contractor for the Golden Gate Bridge was John A. Roebling’s Sons Co. Trenton & Robeling, New Jersey.
The Brooklyn Bridge in New York, completed 54 years earlier in 1883 and designed by wire rope patent holder John A. Roebling, was the first famous suspension bridge. The Brooklyn Bridge helped to define and add fame to New York City in much the same way that the Golden Gate Bridge has for San Francisco.
Golden Gate Bridge Design
The Golden Gate Bridge design echoes an Art Deco Theme. Wide, vertical ribbing on the horizontal tower bracing accents the sun’s light on the bridge.
The towers that support the Golden Gate Bridge’s suspension cables are smaller at the top than at the base, emphasizing the tower height of 500 feet above the roadway. Irving Morrow—an architect hired by Strauss to design an architectural treatment for the bridge—chose the ‘international orange’ paint color to blend with the setting while still being very visible to ships.
Coit Tower is another San Francisco landmark with an Art Deco design. Timothy Pflueger was probably the most prolific and renowned Art Deco Architect in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Golden Gate Bridge Facts
Golden Gate refers to Golden Gate Strait—a name that originated around 1846.
The Golden Gate Bridge’s 4,200 foot long main suspension span was a world record that stood for 27 years. It is still the second longest in the United States after the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge which links Staten Island to Brooklyn in New York.
The bridge’s two towers rise 746 feet making them 191 feet taller than the Washington Monument.
The five lane bridge crosses Golden Gate Strait which is about 400 feet, or 130 meters, deep. Simple yellow markers are used to switch the center lane so that there are three lanes into San Francisco for the morning commute and three leaving The City in the afternoon and evening.
Golden Gate Bridge Tolls are only collected on the way in (going south). The toll on the Golden Gate Bridge increased to $5.00/4.00 FasTrak on September 1, 2002, later raised to $6.00/$5.00. Multi-axle vehicle rates (3 or more axels) will rise on July 1, 2012. There are no carpool lanes on the Golden Gate Bridge.
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