THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE IN CALIFORNIA: an iconic structure connecting the city of San Francisco to Marin County.

Wednesday, 07 July 2021
THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE IN CALIFORNIA: an iconic structure connecting the city of San Francisco to Marin County. picture by Pixabay

Over hundreds of years, European explorers have sought out the legendary golden cities of California on this coastline. Yet treasure hunters have always missed the entrance to one of the world's most beautiful harbors, "The Golden Gate".

Where does the name "Golden" come from?

Many believes that the Golden Gate Straight and the Golden Gate Bridge were named after the famous California Gold Rush, but this is not the case. The gold rush has nothing to do with the name of the Golden Gate. Back then, the entrance to the bay that lies between San Francisco and the Pacific Ocean remained hidden for so long because of, as the explorers used to say, the rocky shoreline, turbulent waters and the invisible opening sign. The bay opens about three miles back from the Pacific. Its entrance is only a mile wide, difficult to spy from the sea. As a matter of fact, it was a land expedition that finally spotted the entrance from the nearby hills. 230 years later, the first Spanish ships passed through, and a 19th century U.S. Army Captain John C. Fremont gave the passage its name of Golden Gate.

Today, anyone entering the bay from the sea must pass under San Francisco's most iconic structure: "The Golden Gate Bridge". It is hard to imagine today that before the bridge was built, the only way to cross the bay was by ferry. Boats carried about 50,000 commuters a week. Not surprisingly, the greatest opposition to the bridge came from ferry operators. However, in 1930, San Francisco voters finally gave engineer Joseph Strauss the green light. Strauss said he dreamed of building the largest such thing a man could build. His design ranks up there with the Empire State Building and the Brooklyn Bridge as a symbol of American progress and ingenuity.

The entire bridge is 1.7 miles long. Its towers rise 746 feet above the bay. To build a similar bridge today would cost over one billion dollars. In 1937, the Golden Gate made its debut as the world's longest suspension span. Its two main cables stretch 4,200 meters from tower to tower. The Golden Gate Bridge is called a suspension bridge because the roadway is suspended from the cables, which are held by the two towers and anchored at each end of the bridge. While most bridges at the time were painted black, the Art Deco-style Golden Gate was painted reddish orange—or international orange— to catch the light and stand out in the fog.

Sources: History, Golden Gate, National Park Services, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy

Read 122 times Last modified on Thursday, 08 July 2021 03:55
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