Little Known Facts About The Golden Gate Bridge
Fun and fascinating trivia about San Francisco's most indelible icon.
San Francisco is full of iconic landmarks, but none like the Golden Gate Bridge. Globally recognized and synonymous with San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge is a must-see when visiting. However, there is much more to our beautiful bridge than meets the eye. Discover some facts even the best tour guides might not know. You'll really impress your friends and family with these facts and interesting bits of history!
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.
Infrastructure, But Make It Fashion
Chief engineer Joseph Strauss’ first design, in 1921, was rejected as too ugly.
Everyone's A Critic
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.
Halfway to Hell
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.’’
What's Your Favorite Color?
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. The color was selected because it provided visibility in the fog for passing ships and also because it was a color that fit in naturally with the bridge's setting and the surrounding land.
Keeping Up Appearances
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. It is estimated that 5,000 - 10,000 gallons of paint are used to repaint the Golden Gate Bridge each year.
50,000 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.
Thirty Football Fields Long
The six-lane bridge is 1.7 miles long, linking San Francisco on the south with Marin County on the north.
Worth The Price
The 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.
A World (or More) of Wire
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.
Still In The Top Ten
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.
It's a Boy!
Three babies have been born on the Golden Gate Bridge. All of them have been boys.
What's in a Name?
The name came from the fact that the Golden Gate Strait (named by John Fremont) is the entrance into San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean.
The bridge has only been closed three times due to weather since it was built, all three times due to high winds gusting close to or over 70 miles per hour.
The bridge has also been closed for visits from dignitaries President Franklin D. Roosevelt and President Charles de Gaulle of France and also on its 50th and 75th Anniversaries.