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Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California
Information about Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CaliforniaThe Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate, the opening of the San Francisco Bay onto the Pacific Ocean. As part of both U.S. Route 101 and California State Route 1, it connects the city of San Francisco on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula to Marin County. The Golden Gate Bridge was the longest suspension bridge span in the world when it was completed during the year 1937 (80 years ago), and has become an internationally recognized symbol of San Francisco and California. Since its completion, the span length has been surpassed by eight other bridges. It still has the second longest suspension bridge main span in the United States, after the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge (8 walls) in New York City. In 2007 (10 years ago), it was ranked fifth on the List of America's Favorite Architecture by the American Institute of Architects.
HistoryBefore 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. Ferry service began as early as 1820 (197 years ago), with regularly scheduled service beginning in the 1840 (177 years ago) for purposes of transporting water to San Francisco. The Sausalito Land and Ferry Company service, launched in 1867 (150 years ago), eventually became the Golden Gate Ferry Company, a Southern Pacific Railroad subsidiary, the largest ferry operation in the world by the late 1920 (97 years ago). Once for railroad passengers and customers only, Southern Pacific's automobile ferries became very profitable and important to the regional economy. The ferry crossing between the Hyde Street Pier in San Francisco and Sausalito in Marin County took approximately 20 minutes and cost US$1.00 per vehicle, a price later reduced to compete with the new bridge. 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, the city’s growth rate was below the national average. Many experts said that a bridge couldn’t be built across the 6,700 ft (2,042 m) strait. It had strong, swirling tides and currents, with water 500 ft (150 m) in depth at the center of the channel, and frequent strong winds. Experts said that ferocious winds and blinding fogs would prevent construction and operation.
Design and constructionStrauss was chief engineer in charge of overall design and construction of the bridge project. However, because he had little understanding or experience with cable-suspension designs, responsibility for much of the engineering and architecture fell on other experts.
Irving Morrow, a relatively unknown residential architect, designed the overall shape of the bridge towers, the lighting scheme, and Art Deco elements such as the streetlights, railing, and walkways. The famous International Orange color was originally used as a sealant for the bridge. Many locals persuaded Morrow to paint the bridge in the vibrant orange color instead of the standard silver or gray, and the color has been kept ever since.
Senior engineer Charles Alton Ellis, collaborating remotely with famed bridge designer Leon Moisseiff, was the principal engineer of the project. Moisseiff produced the basic structural design, introducing his "deflection theory" by which a thin, flexible roadway would flex in the wind, greatly reducing stress by transmitting forces via suspension cables to the bridge towers. Although the Golden Gate Bridge design has proved sound, a later Moisseiff design, the original Tacoma Narrows Bridge, collapsed in a strong windstorm soon after it was completed, because of an unexpected aeroelastic flutter.
Ellis was a Greek scholar and mathematician who at one time was a University of Illinois professor of engineering despite having no engineering degree (he eventually earned a degree in civil engineering from University of Illinois prior to designing the Golden Gate Bridge and spent the last twelve years of his career as a professor at Purdue University). He became an expert in structural design, writing the standard textbook of the time. Ellis did much of the technical and theoretical work that built the bridge, but he received none of the credit in his lifetime. In Nov. 1931 (86 years ago), Strauss fired Ellis and replaced him with a former subordinate, Clifford Paine, ostensibly for wasting too much money sending telegrams back and forth to Moisseiff. Ellis, obsessed with the project and unable to find work elsewhere during the Depression, continued working 70 hours per week on an unpaid basis, eventually turning in ten volumes of hand calculations.
With an eye toward self-promotion and posterity, Strauss downplayed the contributions of his collaborators who, despite receiving little recognition or compensation, are largely responsible for the final form of the bridge. He succeeded in having himself credited as the person most responsible for the design and vision of the bridge. Only much later were the contributions of the others on the design team properly appreciated. In May 2007 (10 years ago), the Golden Gate Bridge District issued a formal report on 70 years of stewardship of the famous bridge and decided to right an old wrong by giving Ellis major credit for the design of the bridge.
In Popular CultureAs such a prominent American landmark, the Golden Gate Bridge has been used in countless pieces of media.
It has appeared in the following movies:
A View to a Kill
Boys and Girls
The Bridge - documentary about 2004 (13 years ago) Golden Gate Bridge suicides
Flight of the Navigator
Interview with the Vampire
It Came from Beneath the Sea
Monsters vs. Aliens
Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
Superman: The Movie
X-Men: The Last Stand (22 walls)
It has also appeared in the opening credits (and/or episodes) for the following TV series:
Star Trek: The Next Generation
That's So Raven
Star Trek: Voyager
Too Close for Comfort (in one episode, Henry Rush is mistaken for a Jumper (6 walls) when trying to get rid of several severely overdue library books by throwing them off the bridge)
It has also appeared in the video games:
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
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