Construction began on the Golden Gate Bridge on this day in 1933.
The entrance to San Francisco Bay received the name the “Golden Gate” in 1846 by Captain John C. Fremont. He was inspired by the “Golden Horn”, a great harbour in the Byzantine Empire.
San Francisco’s population grew due to the Gold Rush, which meant more and more people began to ask why there wasn’t a bridge across the mile-wide Golden Gate. Plans to build a bridge began in 1916 with a campaign led by James Wilkins, editor of the San Francisco Call Bulletin, and in 1919, city engineer Michael O’Shaughnessy was given the job of finding an engineer who could not only build a bridge, but one that was also cost-effective.
Most plans suggested cost in excess of $100million, but Joseph Strauss, an engineer based in Chicago, offered a bridge design that he believed he could construct for $25-30million. Problems ensued over securing funds, the fact a bridge would not only ruin the bay view but also cause harm to the shipping industry – as well as worries over what would happen if another earthquake occurred.
But eventually, after loans were secured and designs amended, on January 5th 1933, the crew began excavating the dirt for the bridge’s anchorages. It was a challenging build, but eventually opened in 1937 and has since become symbolic of the City by the Bay.
I’m a bit obsessed with the Golden Gate Bridge and I think it comes from the iconic shot of Mia Thermopolis driving over it in a 60s Mustang with Julie Andrews in “The Princess Diaries” – obviously an important cultural reference!