9.5" Long on 10 1/4" pedestal. 4.5" High
At sunset, the brilliant vermilion paint on the famed Golden Gate Bridge does, indeed, reflect the light with a blinding golden hue. Whether standing high on the windswept Marin Headlands looking down on the bridge from the north, or standing far below the span at Fort Point to the south, the view is nothing short of breathtaking.
It is no wonder that the Golden Gate Bridge has inspired poets, musicians and artists for more than seven decades. The bridge that “could never be built” is perhaps the most famous in the world. Its art deco beauty has a magical effect on visitors, who flock to San Francisco to traverse the 8,981-foot expanse.
It is a far cry from the first San Francisco Bridge that was constructed in 1844, which crossed a creek connecting Laguna Salada with the Bay. It was regarded as a remarkable structure, since it shortened the distance to the town’s Embarcadero at Clark’s Point. But the primary means of traversing the rugged bay area was by ferry. By the early 20th Century, the Bay was clogged with ferry traffic.
Engineers and city planners began considering major bridge construction in the 1920s, although the dream had been discussed for nearly a century. At the height of the Great Depression, voters approved a $35 million bond issue for the construction of a bridge across the Golden Gate.
It was the dream of Joseph Baerman Strauss, a distinguished engineer, to raise a span across the Golden Gate. Despite rebukes, Strauss held to his vision, and on January 5, 1933, actual construction began, with Strauss heading the team. The engineer was also a pioneer in construction safety. He was the first to require hard hats and daily sobriety tests for workers, and as a precaution, a safety net below the entire bridge site, which saved the lives of 19 men. They were known as members of the Half-way To Hell Club. Loss of life was minimal on the vast project – eleven men… making the Golden Gate Bridge construction one of the safest in history.
The bridge was completed and officially opened on May 27, 1937. Joseph Strauss had won over the elements. For many years, the Golden Gate Bridge with its 4,200-ft. suspension span was the longest in the world. At mid-span, the bridge is 220 feet above the waters of the Golden Gate. Its two towers rise 746 feet – 191 feet taller than the Washington Monument. In winds that often exceed 60 miles per hour, the bridge was designed to sway as much as 27-feet side-to-side, and has withstood both severe storms and earthquakes with little or no damage.
Although longer and higher suspension bridges have been constructed, none have earned the distinction and recognition of the Golden Gate Bridge. Although more than 2 billion vehicles have crossed and untold thousands of pedestrians and cyclists, no other bridge enjoys the mystique, the majesty, the marvel as “the bridge that could never be built.” It will stand forever as a modern day wonder of the world!