The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate strait, the one-mile-wide, one-point-seven-mile-long channel between San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. The bridge is one of the most internationally recognized symbols of San Francisco, California, and it has been declared one of the Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers. The Frommers travel guide describes the Golden Gate Bridge as possibly the most beautiful, certainly the most photographed and it opened in 1937 and was, until 1964, the longest suspension bridge main span in the world, at 4,200 feet. Before the bridge was built, the only practical short route between San Francisco and what is now Marin County was by boat across a section of San Francisco Bay. A ferry service began as early as 1820, with a scheduled service beginning in the 1840s for the purpose of transporting water to San Francisco. Once for railroad passengers and customers only, Southern Pacifics automobile ferries became very profitable, the trip from the San Francisco Ferry Building took 27 minutes. Many wanted to build a bridge to connect San Francisco to Marin County, San Francisco was the largest American city still served primarily by ferry boats. Because it did not have a permanent link with communities around the bay, experts said that ferocious winds and blinding fogs would prevent construction and operation. San Franciscos City Engineer estimated the cost at $100 million, which would have been $2.12 billion in 2009 and he asked bridge engineers whether it could be built for less. One who responded, Joseph Strauss, was an engineer and poet who had, for his graduate thesis. At the time, Strauss had completed some 400 drawbridges—most of which were inland—and nothing on the scale of the new project. Strausss initial drawings were for a massive cantilever on each side of the strait, connected by a central suspension segment, Local authorities agreed to proceed only on the assurance that Strauss would alter the design and accept input from several consulting project experts. A suspension-bridge design was considered the most practical, because of recent advances in metallurgy, Strauss spent more than a decade drumming up support in Northern California. The bridge faced opposition, including litigation, from many sources, the Department of War was concerned that the bridge would interfere with ship traffic. The navy feared that a collision or sabotage to the bridge could block the entrance to one of its main harbors. Unions demanded guarantees that local workers would be favored for construction jobs, in May 1924, Colonel Herbert Deakyne held the second hearing on the Bridge on behalf of the Secretary of War in a request to use federal land for construction. Another ally was the automobile industry, which supported the development of roads. The bridges name was first used when the project was discussed in 1917 by M. M
A view of the Golden Gate Bridge from the Marin Headlands
South tower seen from walkway, with Art Deco elements
Below Golden Gate Bridge
1.2 million steel rivets hold the bridge together. This is a segment of one of those replaced during the seismic retrofit of the bridge after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.