Monday, May 28, 2007

This Day in History

May 28, 1937 : GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE OPENS. Workmen on catwalks (pictured) constructing the Golden Gate Bridge, in 1935. The Golden Gate Bridge opened to vehicular traffic on this day in 1937. One of the world's largest single-span suspension bridges, the Golden Gate Bridge was designed by Clifford Paine. Paine submitted the final blueprints for approval in 1930. With the official design completed, it took over three years for the builders to attain the approval of the military, the city financiers, and the voting public. Construction of the bridge commenced on January 5, 1933. The bridge's aesthetics were influenced greatly by an assisting architect named Irving Morrow. Morrow had no experience building bridges, but he convinced Paine to adopt many of the Golden Gate's most striking features.

It was his idea for the portal bracings above the roadway to diminish in size as they climbed, thereby creating the effect of heightening the bridge. The height of the towers over the water is a breathtaking 746 feet, and the length of the suspended structure is 6,450 feet. Over 80,000 miles of wire went into the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge. Morrow was also the driving force behind the bridge's striking color, international orange; he believed a warm color should be used to contrast with the cold tones of the surrounding land. The Golden Gate Bridge cost the community nearly $35 million during its five-year construction. Its name is derived from the body of water over which it spans, Golden Strait. The "gold" comes from the strait's location at the mouth of the North Bay, beyond which lies the gold of California. Other have mentioned that the Golden Gate Bridge is the Gateway to the Land of the Setting Sun, but they didn't mention this until nearly 30 years after the bridge was originally erected.