THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE
The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most historic bridges in the nation and is greatly considered one of the seven wonders of the world. It came to be recognized over time as a universal symbol of power and progress of our great nation. This bridge is located in the San Francisco area and the main purpose is the connection of San Francisco with the Marin Headlands. The Golden Gate is a 1,7 mile long suspension bridge and has longly been carried with its motto which is "the bridge that couldn't be built." Construction for this bridge was started in 1933 and upon its completion in 1937, it was the tallest and largest suspension bridge in the world with it being 1.7 miles long and 764 feet (260 meters). The road you travel while being on the bridge is the US Route 101 and you can also travel the bridge by walking which would take around an hour to fully walk from experience. Although many other bridges have passed it in size, no bridge will ever pass the Golden Gate's overall importance and magnificance and it is rumored that it is the most photographed bridge not just in the United States but in the world.
Designing and Building
The Golden Gate Bridge was designed by lead architect Joseph Strauss but he had much help from others as Strauss was actually unfamiliar and unsure of how to construct the cable suspensions design. That is why he brought in multiple other architects to help in this massive project. First, we have Leon Moisseff, who previously was one of the main builders and engineers in the building of the Manhatten Bridge in New York, helped, gave ideas, and ultimately created the final design of the Golden Gate Bridge. The other important architect Irving Marrow was there to help design the shape of the towers and to figure out and give examples for possible color schemes for the bridge. Originally, the bridge was supposed to be black and white with yellow stripes so it could be easily seen by those of the US Navy. The orange color that we see on it today was originally just supposed to be the sealant but was kept as the final color so it could compliment not only the bridge but its surrounding areas as well. During the night, the bridge shines with a golden look that reflects off the bay which helps for ships to see especially when there is bad fog in the surrounding areas. Construction began in 1933 but was obviously met with many challenges that were expected with the size of the project. Some of the weather and surrounding area conditions that caused problems and even halted construction at times were frequent storms and early morning fog from the bay. The workers also had to deal with the problem of having to remove deep sea rock to be able to implement the structure and to make the foundations earthquake proof because much of the bay area lays on the San Andreas fault. Strauss came up with a remarkable idea to create and make a movable safety net to help if any workers were to accidentaly fall off the edges. While the safety net saved a total of 19 people from falling to their death, there was one incident where the net gave out caused by a scaffolding falling which led to 10 people falling to their death on February 17, 1937. Surprisingly, only one other person fell to their death outside of this unexpected situation during the four years of building. The Golden Gate Bridge was finished and opened to the public both waling and driving on May 27, 1937.
In order for the Golden gate Bridge to be constructed, a financial corporation would have been needed to be made because of the overall size and cost the project would be. In 1932, then President of the United States Herbert Hoover signed and authorized for the creation of a legislation called the Reconstruction Finance Corperation which allocated almost half a billion dollars for loans to banks and state governments to use for the building of certain bridges that were authorized which included the Golden Gate Bridge. In January 1933, the Golden Gate was officially authorized and allowed to start construction under a 35 million dollar bond that was issued by the Ban of America offices based in San Francisco. This bond was well below the first estimated amount they thought the project would cost which first was believed to be closer to 100 million dollars. The first recorded day of construction began on January 5, 1933 and was finished and opened to traffic on May 27, 1937, which was a total of 1,604 days of work. The Golden Gate was surprisingly finished ahead of schedule and was also 1.3 million dollars under budget. The most surprising fact of the whole building of the bridge was just over 80,000 miles of cables were used for the suspension and towers of the bridge. Now, you may be thinking, 35 million dollars is a very large sum of money especially in the 1930s and you may be asking how they were able to pay that back. As many states struggled to build and rebuild highways after the completion of World War I, the idea and invention of tolling became a very helpful way to finance large scale projects like the building of the Golden Gate Bridge. By 1972, the final bond was paid and retired with 70 million dollars being made over time entirely from bridge tolls. 35 million was paid for the initial principal and 39 million were paid for the initial interest over time.
Sad Truth (Suicides)
A very sad but true and harmful fact about the Golden Gate bridge is that it is often used as an area for people struggling with certain mental health issues to commit suicide. Due to the fact that both the bridge is a staple of American history and that the bridge is so tall and high above water (75 meters), the Golden Gate Bridge is the second most used suicide site in the world only behind the Aokigahara Forrest in Japan. The bridge has had a total of 1,500 known and confirmed suicides since opening in 1937 with there being an average of 16 suicides per year. Around 5 percent of those that do commit to the jump have not died from the impact but eventually died from drowning caused by the many broken bones caused by the impact. Out of the 1,500 people that jumped, only 2 have lived and have managed to tell their story who are Kevin Hines and Ken Baldwin. The number of suicides at the famous bridge has greatly reduced the past few years as a 200 million dollar project was completed in 2020 that added suicide barriers between the cables and open areas of the bridge.
My Own Pictures (Over the years of me visiting as I am from the Bay Area):
IMG_4911.HEIC. Add a caption
Photos from Internet:
“Golden Gate Bridge.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., https://www.britannica.com/topic/Golden-Gate-Bridge.
“Golden Gate Bridge.” San Francisco Travel, https://www.sftravel.com/things-to-do/attractions/iconic-sf/golden-gate-bridge.
Golden Gate Bridge Is Born - History. https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/golden-gate-bridge-is-born.
ak489454, and ak489454. “CSUN.” The Curiosity Feed Improve Every Day, 30 July 2020, https://blogs.csun.edu/curiosityfeed/2020/07/30/history-of-the-golden-gate-bridge/.
“10 Most Popular Suicide Spots on Earth.” Best School Counseling Degrees, https://www.bestschoolcounselingdegrees.com/10-most-popular-suicide-spots-on-earth/.