Wednesday Wonders – Golden Gate Bridge

Hello! Welcome to my next Wonder Lesch blog post. Which Wonder will I be exploring this week? The 8,980 feet long, 90 feet wide and 746 feet high California Historical Landmark named the Golden Gate Bridge. Construction of the bridge began January 5, 1933 and was completed and opened for passengers May 27, 1937. At the time of its opening it was the longest and tallest suspension bridge in the world. Have you ventured across this Wonder of the Modern World?

Pedestrian, Bicycle and Motor Vehicles crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CA

Before the bridge was built the shortest route between San Francisco and what is now called Marin County was by ferry. To cross between Hyde Street Pier in San Francisco and Sausalito Ferry Terminal in Marin County took roughly 20 minutes depending on the weather and cost roughly $1.00. Prices changed as often as the weather with a drastic price decrease once the bridge had been completed.

Hyde Street Pier and Ferry Boat in San Francisco, CA

Construction began on January 5, 1933 at a projected cost of 35 million dollars (in 2018 that amount would equal 514 million dollars). The Golden Gate Bridge construction was carried out by the McClintic-Marshall Construction Company. Joseph Strauss was chief engineer in charge of the overall design and construction of the bridge project.

Golden Gate Bridge Construction Begins, San Fransisco, CA – Photo credit HistoryHit.com

Chief Engineer Joseph Strauss insisted on a rigid safety code during construction. The era of daredevil, reckless, bridgemen came to a close. He was determined to beat the 1 man dies per 1 million spent in completing the project. The workers followed the rigid safety code during the building of the bridge or they were fired. This was the first project in history that required following safety rules: Safety lines, “Bullard” hard hats, Respirator masks for the riveters, Glare free goggles to prevent “snowblindness”, Special hand and face cream tp protect against high wind chaffing, Special diets to decrease dizziness, Sauerkraut juice to cure hangovers, On-site field hospital, and finally a Safety Net suspended under the floor of the bridge suspended the entire length of the bridge span pylon to pylon.

Safety Net Under the Golden Gate Bridge, San Fransisco, CA – Photo Courtesy SFGate.com

The Half Way to Hell Club was organized by the men who fell from the Golden Gate Bridge during its construction and were saved by the safety net. 11 men however did die during construction, 10 of them lost their lives when part of the scaffold fell through the safety net pulling those men with it. The Golden Gate Bridge is second highest in the world used for suicide attempts, with an estimated 1,500 deaths. As a suicide prevention initiative, a sign has been posted that shows a special phone number that will connect anyone that calls to a crisis hotline. “Cracked, Not Broken” written by Kevin Hines has several survivor stories if you are interested in learning more about this aspect of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Sidewalk Crossing on the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CA

At the time the Golden Gate Bridge opened in 1937, the toll amount to cross was 50 cents per vehicle each way. In 1968, the toll was only collected from southbound traffic, at a cost of 50 cents per vehicle. The toll price has continued to increase throughout the years, but charging only southbound traffic remains constant. The bridge-opening celebrations began May 27, 1937 and lasted roughly 1 week. The day before vehicle traffic was allowed to cross the bridge over 200,000 people crossed on foot and or roller skates. A visitor center and gift shop are located on the San Francisco part of the bridge, built as part of the 75th year anniversary celebration of the bridge.

Golden Gate Bridge and Welcome Center, San Francisco, CA – Photo Courtesy inhabitat.com

The Golden Gate Bridge Bridge was designated a California Historical Landmark June 18, 1987 and designated San Fransisco Designated Landmark on May 21, 1999. With its Art Deco suspension, truss arch & truss causeways it is possibly the most beautiful bridge and the most photographed bridge in the world.

Steel pattern of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CA

Most photographed bridge in the world. Share your photos. Share your adventures. I would LOVE to see a photo of someone roller skating across the bridge! Please tell me in the comments what you thought of this post and if there is another Wonder, city, or topic you would like me to write about. I read and reply to all comments.

Until next time! Wonder Lesch

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