Golden Gate Bridge in the fog

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March 30, 2016

14 Little Known Facts About the Golden Gate Bridge to Impress Your Friends

When you plan a trip to San Francisco, you probably scour the internet digesting all the information you can find about the City by the Bay, whether it's where to stay, what to eat, how to get there, and ultimately, what to do. The first thing you are probably googling this second is learning about the Golden Gate Bridge. While you need information about what to do there, the history behind it, discovering what Fort Point is, we also want to set you up to impress your friends, family and even tour guides with these little-known facts about everyone's favorite bridge.

  • A bridge across the Golden Gate Strait was first proposed in 1872 and championed by railroad mogul Charles Crocker but the idea didn’t catch on.
  • Chief engineer Joseph Strauss’ first design, in 1921, was rejected as too ugly.
  • The great California nature photographer Ansel Adams worried that building a bridge across the Golden Gate would ruin the beauty of the place. When Adams saw the finished Golden Gate Bridge, he changed his mind.
  • Eleven men died in accidents during construction, 10 of them on the same day. Another 19 workers caught by a safety net below the bridge were dubbed members of the “Halfway to Hell Club.’’
  • The Navy suggested that the bridge be painted in black and yellow stripes. The Army Air Corps wanted candy cane red and white stripes. The signature International Orange hue was actually the color of the primer. Consulting architect Irving Morrow successfully lobbied for the bridge to be permanently painted International Orange.
  • According to urban legend, the Golden Gate Bridge is painted continuously, end-to-end. Not so. The bridge is painted and touched up according to need.
  • Fifty thousand people walked across the new bridge on May 26, 1937. It was opened to motor vehicles the next day. On May 24, 1987, some 300,000 people squeezed onto the bridge for a 50th birthday party called Bridgewalk 87. The weight of bridge walkers that day caused the roadway to sag in the middle by 7 feet, but bridge engineers said the structure always remained safe.
  • The six-lane bridge is 1.7 miles long, linking San Francisco on the south with Marin County on the north.
  • Total cost of construction was $35 million.
  • The bridge weighs 887,700 tons, after shedding 12,300 tons when the roadway was replaced in the 1980s.
  • The two main suspension cables use a combined 80,000 miles of wire. Looped around the Earth’s equator in a single strand, it would circle the planet three times.
  • The Golden Gate Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world until 1964. It is now the ninth-longest.
  • By 2015, more than 2 billion motor vehicles had passed over the Golden Gate Bridge.


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