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The Golden Gate Bridge Opened 79 Years Ago Today

Happy birthday!

Today marks the 79th anniversary of the city's most iconic structure, the Golden Gate Bridge, the world's most photographed bridge. On May 27, 1937, approximately 200,000 people crossed the bridge in honor of its opening, paying a sum of $0.25 to cross.

Structural engineer Joseph Strauss was the mind behind the design, coming up with plans for the span connecting San Francisco with Marin. He is honored with a statue at the start of the southern portion of the bridge. Charles Alton Ellis, however, is widely credited for coming up with the Golden Gate Bridge's structural design.

Some other fun facts about the bridge:

  • It cost $35 million, finished early, and came in under budget
  • Up until 1964, it was the longest suspension bridge main span in the world until the opening of New York's Verrazano–Narrows Bridge
  • Horrifying to think, but the U.S. Navy tried to get the bridge painted black with yellow stripes out of concern that ships would hit the bridge
  • From 1937-1970, pedestrians had to pay to cross
  • The color of the bridge is International Orange, a hue also once used by NASA astronauts
  • Opening day was studded with flyovers from small airplanes, something we cannot imagine happening today
  • The bridge has played host to many protests, with advocated climbing the cables to protest everything from the 2008 Beijing Olympics to the logging of redwood trees
  • The Southern Pacific Railroad company protested the bridge's construction for fear it would ruin their successful ferry business
  • In its review of the bridge, the Chronicle referred to it as "a thirty-five million dollar steel harp"
  • High winds have thrice closed the bridge, per the Chronicle, "in Dec. 1, 1951 (69 mph), once on Dec. 23, 1982 (70 mph) and Dec. 3, 1983 (75 mph)."
  • During construction, a net was placed under the bridge, which saved the lives of 19 men who became known as the "Halfway-to-Hell Club."
  • It is always being painted. Always.

Here's History Channel's take on the Golden Gate Bridge:

And here are some choice shots of our city's most famous structure. Happy birthday, big fella.

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A photo posted by Amazing & relaxing place (@travels_wishlist) on

Happy 79th birthday Goldie! You don't look a day over 29. #thatsfbridge #alwayssf #priime

A photo posted by tina ly johnston (@tina) on

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CA