Golden Gate Bridge: A feat of engineering once declared impossible

The Golden Gate Bridge, one of the most beautiful suspension bridges in the world, spans the entrance (“the Golden Gate”) to San Francisco’s bay. The bridge connects San Francisco to Marin County and is the only exit out of San Francisco to the north, being part of the famous U.S. highway Route 101.

Originally, the Golden Gate itself was crossed via a ferry service because it was deemed impossible to span this mammoth stretch with a bridge. It was the tenacity of Joseph Strauss that finally saw a bridge take form. Strauss first came up with plans in 1921, but these were rejected and he spent the next ten years refining his designs. Construction began in 1933 and was finished four years later. Strauss died the year after the bridge was officially opened, and there is now a statue of him near the bridge commemorating the part he played in its inception. The bridge’s 4,200-foot (1,280-m) main suspension span is supported by two elegant towers that rise 746 feet (227 m), making them the tallest suspension towers at the time of their completion. The aesthetics of the bridge are unequaled, and the orange vermilion color adds to this. The color was suggested by the consulting architect Irving Morrow, and has a dual function, both fitting in with the surrounding natural scenery and being clearly visible to ships in fog. At night the bridge is floodlit and shines with a golden luminescence that reflects off the waters of the bay and creates a magical effect.

On its completion, the Golden Gate Bridge came to be recognized as a symbol of the United States’ power and progress, and set a precedent for suspension-bridge design around the world. It continues to be one of the most frequently photographed bridges, and is one of the most magnificent sights in the United States.