clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

75 Years Later, Settling Some Old Scores


This morning our cousins at Curbed National brought up the nagging issue of proper credit to Charles Ellis for his part in realizing the Golden Gate Bridge. Ellis was the mathematician engineer who produced all the calculations needed to actually build the bridge. For reasons unknown— although ego no doubt played a role— the bridge's builder Joseph Strauss fired Ellis just before construction began and obliterated him from the record. Strauss was a builder, not an engineer or designer, and his original concept for the span was rejected in favor of a suspension bridge designed by Leon Moisseiff, and it was Moisseiff's design that the meticulous Ellis calculated into existence with a slide rule. Nobody mentions Irving Morrow, the otherwise obscure architect hired by Strauss who gave the bridge its romantic Art Deco profile and recommended "International Orange" for its color. With an appearance by eminent historian Kevin Starr, and not just about the brilliant Ellis, this clip from PBS Newshour puts the bridge into the context of its time and the role it plays today.
· Golden Gate Bridge Will Finally Admit Who Designed It [Curbed National]
· Charles Ellis [American Exeprience/PBS]
· Leon Moisseiff [American Experience/PBS]
· Irving Morrow [American Experience/PBS]
· As Golden Gate Bridge Turns 75, Its History Is Revised [PBS Newshour]

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CA