San Francisco recently commemorated the 83rd birthday of the Golden Gate Bridge, which was started in January 1933. This is probably the most pictured bridge in the world, not to mention its most breathtaking! So, while crossing this iconic bridge, you can enlighten your pals with one of these 15 remarkable facts about the Golden Gate Bridge:
1. The Golden Gate Bridge Isn’t the World’s Longest Suspension Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge was the longest suspension bridge between 1937 to 1964. In 1964, one of several bridge developers, Othmar Hermann Ammann (a man with lots of ms and ns), proudly constructed the 60-foot longer Verrazano Narrows Suspension Bridge in New York City. The Golden Gate Bridge is currently the world’s 9th longest bridge.
2. Do Not Ever Let the US Navy Choose Your Colors
Just before engineers decided to go with international orange, and the bridge color debate was looking using black and gray, the US Navy was campaigning hard for gold and black stripes, similar to a warning signal that could alert passing vessels. Fortunately, the US Navy’s suggestion was sidelined.
3. The ‘Little Guy Who Constructed the Big Bridge’ Was Kind of a Prick
Joseph Strauss, a 5’3 drop-out college football player from Cincinnati, was the infamously prickly mastermind of the venture. His initial suggestion for the design in 1922 was very unappealing. The press compared it to an ‘upside rat cage’. Thankfully, Charles Ellis, a math genius, saved the master plan, and he is the one who is mostly accountable for turning the bridge into a beauty. Strauss terminated him because of it, making sure he didn’t get any recognition at the time. However, a plaque commemorating Ellis was placed on the bridge in 2012 for the very first time.
4. The Golden Gate has Absolutely No Association to the Gold Rush
John C Fremont branded the strait spanned by the bridge ‘Chrysopylae’, or ‘Golden Gate,’ referring to Istanbul’s Golden Horn, in 1846, just a couple of years before gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill, California. Incidentally, Vladivostok even had a curving bay labeled after the Golden Horn. One may ask why Istanbul appears to keep the copyright on curving bays.
5. The Bridge’s Greatest Risk was Posed by a Party
Many people doubted whether a bridge could get across a mile-wide strait, especially when they considered the hurdles of tides, wind, corrosive fogs and the risk of earthquakes. However, the greatest risk that the bridge has experienced during its record, was posed by its 50th celebration, when at that moment, 300 000 people crossed the bridge. This was way over the estimated capacity, as 300 000 made up about 30 million pounds of humans. The bridge compressed, but it wasn’t stressed, as engineers point out, perhaps because it had been strengthened the year before.
6. Spain, Hurry! Look East, Look East!
The San Francisco Bay, reached via the Golden Gate Strait, was passed over for 227 straight years by passing Spanish vessels. It was eventually spotted in 1769, when weary hunters crossed overland and discovered the bay. Three years later, finally, the strait had been discovered from present-day Oakland.
7. The Golden Gate Bridge is the Second 83-year-old Bridge in San Francisco
Let’s keep in mind that the Bay Bridge linking San Francisco to Oakland (striking through Yerba Buena Island along the way) celebrated its anniversary a few months earlier, even though it’s a ‘mere trestle,’ based on Golden Gate Bridge’s chief engineer (and notable trash-talker) Joseph Strauss. (Yeah, I know he’s a real prick.)
8. Fort Point Was Never Removed, They Built a Bridge Prequel Instead.
Constructed in 1861 to safeguard San Francisco’s harbor, Fort Point still stands – at the place where Kim Novak leaps in the bay in Vertigo – since the engineers genuinely wished for it to remain. For this, they constructed a ‘prequel to the bridge:’ an arched framework that conveniently towers over the fort.
9. Most Popular Suicide Spot
Although Strauss brushed off issues of the fairly low hurdle within the pedestrian crossing lane, the bridge regrettably became a well-known location for suicides very soon after its its opening. In fact, its notoriety as a suicide spot was cemented only three months after it opened, when H.B. Wobber said ‘this is where I get off’ and jumped. More than 1300 people have leaped ever since, but several survived. The Golden Gate Bridge is regarded as the most favored suicide location on the planet. Even though crisis advising phones have already been installed across the bridge, the thought of putting security nets have been kept in local debates and, at this moment, no approved projects for safety nets are in place.
10. Fairly Few Workers Lost Their Lives Building the Bridge
It’s horrifying to be aware of the fact that civil engineering work has a tendency to presume one worker dying for every US$1 million invested. The Golden Gate Bridge cost US$35 million, but only 11 passed away while it was being built – lower than several similar works (in fact, Melbourne’s little Westgate Bridge saw 35 worker deaths). Nineteen people fell, but they were luckily caught in the safety nets. Those nineteen people are now referred to as the ‘Halfway to Hell Club.’
11. Workers Got Free Hangover Juice
Engineers gave free sauerkraut juice every morning to help workers fight hangovers. A primary reason, a few believe, for the outstanding efficiency of the build.
12. The Car Toll is US$6, or Dentures
Toll collectors have allowed several vehicles to pass without having to pay the fee, but sometimes they require an exchange of some strange items instead. A few examples are canes, shoes and even dentures.
13. The Bridge’s 75th Birthday Also Marked the 75th Anniversary of bad Golden Gate Bridge Poetry
Joseph Strauss, who had often not been present throughout the building of the bridge, read a poem to commemorate its opening on May 27, 1937. Let’s just say it didn’t have the impact he was hoping for.
14. What’s the Name of the Color?
A few tourists ponder why the bridge isn’t gold, or created from real gold (or at best gold colored). Other folks, like me, have incorrectly identified the color as red. It is, in fact, known as ‘international orange’ – a deviation on the color widely used for several astronaut jumpsuits. It was definitely a good looking mishap. The steel pieces came in an orangey-red paint primer, which instantly proved to combine best with the surroundings.
15. Art Can’t Seem to Capture its Beauty
From his book Golden Gate, Keven Starr remarks that the Golden Gate Bridge has ‘not yet inspired any paintings comparable to Joseph Stella’s freestanding Brooklyn Bridge,‘ neither has it influenced any poetry similar to ‘league of Hart Crane’s ‘The Bridge’.
The rock band Journey composed ‘Lights’ in 1979, which features the line: ‘when the lights go down in the city, and the sun shines on the bay.’ This is often considered to be associated with the bridge, but there’s hardly any guarantee. In fact, Singer Steve Perry has in the meantime revealed that the track was initially moved by the bay-less Los Angeles. On the other hand, keep away from the band Train, which put this blooper of a rhyme in the song ‘Save Me San Francisco’: ‘Everyday so caffeinated, I wish they were Golden Gated.’