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Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco to Marin County, California
Completed May 28, 1937

Claim to Fame: The Golden Gate Bridge, a world-renowned bridge, was the longest single span (4,200 feet) in the world at the time of construction. 

Golden Gate Bridge 
Courtesy Flickr/Salim Virji

At last the mighty task is done; Resplendent in the western sun The Bridge looms mountain high;
Its titan piers grip ocean floor, Its great steel arms link shore with shore, Its towers pierce the sky.
 - First stanza of "The Mighty Task is Done"   by Joseph B. Strauss, 1937

As with many civil engineering projects in their conceptual stages, naysayers scoffed at the Golden Gate Bridge. They said it would be technically unfeasible or too expensive to bridge the Golden Gate, a 1.7-mile-wide opening separating the Pacific Ocean from the San Francisco Bay. They said that the channel was too deep; the tides and winds too strong; the span too long.

Bridge designer Joseph Baermann Strauss  believed such a bridge was not only feasible, but could be built for just $25 to $30 million. Out of 11 proposals from bridge engineering firms across the country, Strauss' was selected and he became Chief Engineer. Final engineering plans were submitted on August 27, 1930, and construction began in November 1932.

In what would become one of the safest construction job sites in its time, Strauss and his team of engineers and consultants, along with a dedicated staff of thousands of builders and workers, built one of the boldest, most spectacular bridges ever.

Resources
1. Allen Brown, Golden Gate: Biography of a Bridge, Doubleday & Co.; New York, 1965
2. Golden Gate Bridge District
3. John van der Zee, The Gate: The True Story of the Design and Construction of the Golden Gate Bridge (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1986).
4. Joseph B. Strauss and Clifford E. Paine, The Golden Gate Bridge, Report of the Chief Engineer to the Board of Directors of the Golden Gate Bridge and Highway District
5. Margaret Coel, "A Bridge That Speaks for Itself," American Heritage of Invention & Technology 3 (Summer 1987): 8-17.
6. Stephen Cassady, Spanning the Gate, Squarebooks; Mill Valley, California, 1986
7. The Golden Gate Bridge (video from the A&E Network Series Modern Marvels series) New Video Group, New York, 1994