The Golden Gate Bridge, which spans the San Francisco Bay and connects the city to its northern sububrs, is one of the world’s most famous structures.
The bridge’s original design, produced by chief engineer Joseph Strauss in 1921, was a clunky hybrid of acantilever and suspension bridge that according to one critic resembled “an upside-down rat trap.” It was functional, but far from elegant.
By 1929, consulting engineers Leon S. Moisseiff and O.H. Ammann had persuaded Strauss to accept the more graceful all-suspension bridge design that we see today.
Senior engineer Charles Alton Ellis, collaborating remotely with Moisseiff, was the principal engineer of the project.
Irving Morrow, a relatively unknown residential architect, designed the overall shape of the bridge towers, the lighting scheme, and Art Deco elements, such as the tower decorations, streetlights, railing, and walkways.
It took just four years and five months — January 1933 to May 1937 — to build the Golden Gate Bridge.
The Golden Gate Bridge cost approximately $35.5 million, and 11 died to build it – less than many similar projects.
San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge opened on May 27 1937, instantly becoming a much-loved symbol of the city and an iconic piece of architecture around the world.
The total length of the Golden Gate Bridge is 2.73 kilometers (1.7 miles).
The total weight of the bridge is 804,672 tonnes (887,000 US tons) about 80,000 tonnes (88,000 US tons) is steel; it lost 6,803 tonnes (7,500 US tons) in the 1980s when the roadway deck was replaced.
There are two towers that hold up the two steel cables anchoring the bridge. Also, there are approximately 129,000 kilometers (80,000 miles) of wire inside each of the two steel cables.And there are about 600,000 rivets in each of the two towers.
The towers stand 221 meters (726 feet) above the water and 152 meters (500 feet) above street level. They weigh 40,000 tonnes (44,000 US tons) each and are 1280 meters (4,200 feet) apart from each other.
The bridge is 27 meters (90 feet) wide. There are 6 driving lanes and 2 sidewalks. The width of the driving lanes is 19 meters (62 feet) between curbs and the sidewalks are 3 meters (10 feet) each. Street level is about 67 meters (220 feet) above the water.
Average daily use: 112,000 vehicles, 10,000 pedestrians, and 6,000 bicycles per day.
The Golden Gate Bridge roadway can move up and down as much as 5 meters (16 feet).
The color of the Golden Gate Bridge is actually called ‘international orange‘.
International Orange was selected as the color of the bridge because it provided visibility in the fog for passing ships and also because it was a color that fit in naturally to the bridge’s setting and the surrounding land area.
Rumor has it that the Bridge is painted end to end every year; actually, it is painted based on the priorities set by regular inspections.
The paint protects the bridge from the high salt content in the air which rusts and corrodes the steel components.
High winds have closed the Golden Gate Bridge only 3 times in its history: 1951, 1982, and 1983.
The bridge has also been closed for visits from dignitaries President Franklin D. Roosevelt and President Charles de Gaulle of France and also on its 50th and 75th Anniversaries.
The biggest threat it’s faced in its history, was its 50th birthday party, when 300,000 pedestrians crossed it (far more than expected). The bridge flattened, but was not stressed, engineers say, possibly due to the fact it was strengthened the previous year.
Three babies (that we know of) have been born on the Golden Gate Bridge. All of them have been boys.
The Golden Gate Bridge stood as the longest suspension bridge in the world from 1937 until 1964, when the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge was completed connecting the New York City boroughs of Staten Island and Brooklyn.
Today, the Golden Gate Bridge is the world’s 12th longest suspension bridge.
The Golden Gate Bridge is one the seven wonders of the modern world.
The Golden Gate is at its most enchanting in the morning when the bridge is often shrouded in mist. But the bridge is also alluring at night when the lighting makes it seem as if the spires of the towers dissolve in the darkness.
The Golden Gate National Parks stretch 65 kilometers (40 miles) north and 65 kilometers (40 miles) south of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Captain John C. Fremont names the cleft in the Coastal Mountain Range opening onto San Francisco Bay the Golden Gate.The bridge derives its name from the land feature and not its color.
The Golden Gate Strait is the entrance to the San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean. The strait is approximately 4.8 kilometers (3 miles) long by 1.6 kilometers (1 mile) wide with currents ranging from 4.5 to 7.5 knots.
Hollywood loves the Bridge and it steals the scene in more than two dozen films, including Vertigo, The Love Bug, Superman, Star Trek, Hulk, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Ant-Man.
The bridge has been featured on the cover of the February 26, 1976 issue of Rolling Stone.
On February 22, 1985, the one billionth driver crossed the bridge. Arthur Molinari, a dentist, received abridge-construction hard hat and a case of Champagne.