Golden Gate Bridge

How They Built the Golden Gate Bridge

A symphony of steel in San Francisco

The Golden Gate Bridge cradles the San Francisco bay in picture-perfect splendor. When it was first opened on May 27, 1937 it boasted a reputation of being both the longest and tallest suspension bridge in the world. Here, a look back at the images and footage that capture the extraordinary feat of constructing one of the most iconic bridges in history.

Before the Bridge Underwood Archives/Getty Images Before the Bridge The golden gates connect the city of San Francisco to Marin County. But before the bridge was built, the shortest and most practical route between the San Francisco peninsula and Marin was by ferry. Engineering Marvel Underwood Archives/Getty Images Engineering Marvel Joseph Strauss was the chief engineer and designer of the historic landmark. While the idea for the bridge was born in 1919, construction didn’t begin until January 5, 1933. Including approaches, the bridge spans 1.7 miles in length, and stands 746-feet tall. Halfway to Hell Underwood Archives/Getty Images Halfway to Hell During construction, Strauss made sure to prioritize the safety of his workers. In fact, this was the first construction site in America that designated a “hard hat area.” An innovative safety net was eventually installed under the bridge which ended up saving the lives of 19 people. These men became the self-proclaimed members of the “Halfway to Hell Club” after the net saved them from plummeting 220 feet into the icy waters of the San Francisco bay — a fall few survive.

circa 1935 view of the golden gate bridge under construction san picture  38047efa e131 4868 9444 48be19cbcb09
AFP/Getty Images; Hulton Archive/Getty Images Complementary Colors Wiese_Harald Complementary Colors A red lead primer coated the bridge when consulting architect Irving F. Morrow visited the construction site for the first time. Set against the backdrop of the surrounding hills, the unusual hue inspired Morrow to find a similar shade that would compliment the natural topography and stand out against the cooler tones of the ocean and sky. He settled on an orange hue with a reddish undertone known as "International Orange." Picture Perfect phitha Picture Perfect To this day, the Golden Gate Bridge is arguably the most photographed bridge in the world. It also boasts a powerful love story with the famed fog of the city by the bay.
WATCH: A Steel Symphony in San Francisco

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