“At last the mighty task is done. Resplendent in the western sun,” these are words from the poem ‘The Mighty Task is Done’, written about the Golden Gate Bridge by Joseph P. Strauss, the Chief Engineer of the Bridge.
So, as you might have guessed, I am at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California which is an iconic piece of architecture.
History of the Golden Gate Bridge
Did you know it was called “the bridge that couldn’t be built,” before its construction began on January 5, 1933? After four years of relentless struggle against winds, fog, rocks and treacherous tides, today it stands 227 meters in height and 2,737 in length. It opened on May 27, 1937 and instantly become a much-loved symbol of the city.
The bridge was built at a cost of $35 million in principal and $39 million in interest. It was the world’s longest bridge until 1964, when Verrazano Narrows Suspension Bridge in New York City was built 60 feet longer. The Golden Gate is now the world’s ninth longest bridge.
The bridge is painted in the colour ‘International Orange’. However, this was not the first colour preference. Proposed colors for the bridge included carbon gray, aluminum, or black. The U.S. Navy wanted black with yellow stripes for greater visibility; not so attractive right?. Finally inspired by the red primer the steel beams had been coated in at the factories where they were made, the bridge was given an International Orange colour. Thank god for that! It truly complements the bridge’s natural surroundings and helps the structure stand out from the sea and sky.
The bridge has only been closed a few times since it opened. Three times due to due to high winds gusting close to or over 70 miles per hour, then for visits from dignitaries like President Franklin D. Roosevelt and President Charles de Gaulle of France. It was also closed on its 50th and 75th Anniversaries.
3 Interesting facts about the Golden Gate Bridge
- The Golden Gate Bridge has lost 7,500 tons (in weight) since it opened in 1937.
- It is estimated that 5,000 – 10,000 gallons of paint are used to repaint the Golden Gate Bridge each year.
- Toll collectors have let various cars pass without paying the toll, but collected some unusual things in its place, like canes, shoes and even false teeth.
It has been featured in many popular movies like Ant-Man (2015), Big Hero 6 (2014), Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), Monsters Vs. Aliens (2009), X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) and Hulk (2003) to name a few.