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Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate from below
Golden Gate Bridge Cables
length of one cable....7650 ft
diameter of one cable....36 in
wires in each cable....27,572
total wire used....80,000 miles
weight of cable....24,500 tons

Quite possibly one of the most famous bridges in the world, the Golden Gate Bridge is by far the most recognizable icon of San Francisco, if not the entire state. Spanning over the San Francisco Bay, the 8,900 foot long bridge connects the northern tip of the San Francisco peninsula to a portion of the south facing headlands of Marin County by Sausalito. When the Golden Gate bridge was completed in 1937, it was the largest suspension bridge in the world. It now stands in the number 2 position, behind the Veranzo-Narrows bridge in New York City.

The Golden Gate Bridge stands as a testament to the human spirit and will. Due to the persistent fog, violent winds, and strong ocean currents below, the Golden Gate has been called the "Bridge that couldn't be built." This San Francisco icon is now considered an engineering marvel of the 20th century. The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is one of the most famous California Attraction and is a Tourist must-see.


The crossing of the Golden Gate Strait was for many years accomplished by a ferry running between the Hyde Street Pier at the foot of Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco and Sausalito in Marin County. The idea of a bridge to span the Golden Gate Strait was brought up in an article by the engineer James Wilkins.  The bridge later earned its name, Golden Gate Bridge, after a mention of it in 1927, by San Francisco city engineer M. M. O’Shaughnessy.

The bridge was the idea of Joseph Strauss, an engineer responsible for over 500 drawbridges, though they were far smaller than this project and mostly inland.  Starting in 1921 with his first drawings that were far from approved, Strauss spent over a decade drumming up support in Northern California. Strauss' initial design comprised a massive cantilever on each side connected with a central suspension segment. Although at this point the coming reality of a massive span across the Gate was a foregone conclusion, Strauss' design was universally loathed as graceless and hamfisted, and local authorities only allowed the project to go forward if Strauss' original cantilever concept was thoroughly set aside. Strauss was quietly compelled to accept the input of several consulting project experts, who in turn--and with little final credit--were responsible for the final form of the bridge we see today.

Foremost, architect Irving Morrow, was almost solely responsible for the airy and graceful Art Deco suspension design now recognized around the world--as well as the choice of the famous "International Orange" color. Moreover, Strauss himself had little experience with, or understanding of, the requirements of cable-suspension designs, and so senior engineer Charles Alton Ellis--collaborating remotely with famed bridge designer Leon Moisseiff--became the true engineer of the project.  The two were in fact wholly responsible for both the complicated structural design and the painstaking hand calculations involved over the course of the work.

Strauss stayed on as the titular head of the project, and while his day-to-day responsibilities overseeing the construction were certainly vast, complex, and sometimes groundbreaking--he innovated the use of safety netting beneath heretofore unprotected steelworkers, for instance--he was no longer the bridge's engineer or designer in any meaningful way. Nevertheless, with an eye toward posterity he made certain to downplay the contributions of the other team members, and thus history has recorded Strauss as the figure most responsible for the design and vision of the instantly-famous span.

Golden Gate Bridge
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