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Hard To Imagine, But There Wasn't Always A Bridge Across The Golden Gate

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We're big fans of the Presidio and Crissy Field here at Curbed SF. Welcome to In The Presidio, an ongoing series covering what's going on at what may be the country's most far-ranging and complex examples of adaptive re-use.

The Golden Gate didn't always have a bridge. We forget today that until the late 1930s San Francisco was usually approached by water, and until the railroad was finished in 1869, just about everyone (and everything) arrived here in a boat that had either sailed around Cape Horn or come across the Pacific Ocean. And left the same way. This sea-level view has been largely forgotten, and in honor of the bridge's 75th anniversary, the Presidio Trust has organized an exhibition around the Golden Gate's pre-bridge history, opening today (check here for more details) and running though mid-November. Appropriately, the exhibition includes an early foghorn, along with the expected vintage images and unexpectedly, a "natural, nautical, and military soundscape." As for the name, it was actually John C. Frémont who dubbed our now-iconic strait "The Golden Gate" in 1846, an improbable and romantic reference to the entrance to Constantinople— which he most likely never saw in person– and presumably because of the tawny coastal meadows. Frémont would go on to terrorize the Californios in the name of westward expansion, but that's another story.
· Before There Was A Bridge [Presidio Trust]
· John C. Frémont [Wikipedia]
· Californio [Wikipedia]
[Image Credit: Before The Bridge The Presidio Trust]

The Presidio Trust

34 Graham Street, San Francisco, CA 94129