Happy Anniversary to the Golden Gate Bridge

golden gate bridge

I’ve been away from the computer since last Wednesday on an unexpected camping trip. While it took me away from my regular blog posts and providing updates for the 10-Minute Teacher calendar, it was a much needed get-away. We headed to Giant Sequoia National Monument in Sequoia National Forest and camped among the trees. The kids had an amazing time fishing and walking the Trail of 100 Giants. In 2011 a giant fell, 2 huge sequoias grew together with the bottom 30 feet of the tree serving as one trunk, with two separate trunks for the remainder of the tree. Today you can climb up and walk the length of the tree. It’s pretty amazing. Here is a picture of the roots of that tree…see the guy sitting on top?

fallen giant

San Francisco has big trees, too – mostly Redwoods. I lived in the area for a few years and one of my favorite things to do was walk among the Redwoods. San Francisco also has the Golden Gate Bridge. May 28th marks the day the bridge officially opened to traffic in 1937. I’ve walked across the bridge and that’s actually where my husband proposed, so it holds a special place in my heart. I love the view from the bridge, and any view that includes the bridge. It’s magnificent. Have you been to the Golden Gate Bridge?

The Golden Gate Bridge was designed by Joseph Strauss with later design contributions from Leon S. Moisseiff and architect Irving F. Morrow. The bridge design became a simple suspension bridge with an Art Deco design. The color is International Orange and is known to resist rust and fading. The bridge is 4200 feet long, spanning the nearly mile-wide Golden Gate Strait. It was the longest bridge in the world until 1964.

So what was the point of building the bridge? Well, imagine being in San Francisco in the early 1930’s. There are no bridges connecting the land surrounding the San Francisco Bay. So if you want to get to the northern portion of California you have to take a boat, or drive all the way down and around the bay. Even with today’s cars and freeway systems the trip would take several hours, so imagine undeveloped roads and rough terrain. The $35 million bridge was a great investment.

Facts:

They blasted rock 65 feet below the water to plant earthquake-proof foundations.

May 27th was pedestrian day, as the bridge was opened for people to walk the length of the bridge.

Eleven men died during the construction of the bridge. Their names are on the memorial plaque on the bridge.

There used to be a pedestrian fee charged for walking the bridge that was collected at turnstiles.

 

Poems About The Golden Gate Bridge:

The Mighty Task is Done

by Joseph Strauss

Written upon completion of the building of the Bridge in May 1937

At last the mighty task is done;
Resplendent in the western sun
The Bridge looms mountain high;
Its titan piers grip ocean floor,
Its great steel arms link shore with shore,
Its towers pierce the sky.

On its broad decks in rightful pride,
The world in swift parade shall ride,
Throughout all time to be;
Beneath, fleet ships from every port,
Vast landlocked bay, historic fort,
And dwarfing all–the sea.

To north, the Redwood Empire’s gates;
‘To south, a happy playground waits,
in Rapturous appeal;
Here nature, free since time began,
Yields to the restless moods of man,
Accepts his bonds of steel.

Launched midst a thousand hopes and fears,
Damned by a thousand hostile sneers,
Yet ne’er its course was stayed,
But ask of those who met the foe
Who stood alone when faith was low,
Ask them the price they paid.

Ask of the steel, each strut and wire,
Ask of the searching, purging fire,
That marked their natal hour;
Ask of the mind, the hand, the heart,
Ask of each single, stalwart part,
What gave it force and power.

An Honored cause and nobly fought
And that which they so bravely wrought,
Now glorifies their deed,
No selfish urge shall stain its life,
Nor envy, greed, intrigue, nor strife,
Nor false, ignoble creed.

High overhead its lights shall gleam,
Far, far below life’s restless stream,
Unceasingly shall flow;
For this was spun its lithe fine form,
To fear not war, nor time, nor storm,
For Fate had meant it so.

The Golden Gate Bridge

Written upon completion of the Bridge sometime in 1937

I am the thing that men denied,
The right to be, the urge to live;
And I am that which men defied,
Yet I ask naught for what I give.

My arms are flung across the deep,
Into the clouds my towers soar,
And where the waters never sleep,
I guard the California shore.

Above the fogs of scorn and doubt,
Triumphant gleams my web of steel;
Still shall I ride the wild storms out,
And still the thrill of conquest feel.

The passing world may never know
The epic of my grim travail;
It matters not, nor friend or foe –
My place to serve and none to fail.

My being cradled in despair,
Now grown so wondrous fair and strong,
And glorified beyond compare,
Rebukes the error and the wrong.

Vast shafts of steel, wave-battered pier,
And all the splendor meant to be;
Wind-swept and free, these, year on year,
Shall chant my hymm of Victory!

Source: goldengatebridge.org 

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