The History of the Golden Gate Bridge

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Stretching across the San Francisco Bay stands the world famous Golden Gate Bridge. The bridge is located in one of nature’s most beautiful settings, spanning the mile-wide bay from Fort Point in San Francisco to the Marin County Shore. Joseph Strauss, specializing in bridge building, was the leader of the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge. The start of construction began on January 5, 1993 and, after four years, was completed on April 27, 1997. The bridge was needed to be built because of the growing population after the California Gold Rush. The bridge was a difficult task for engineers and is now an inspiration. The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the largest suspension bridges and is well known around the world. The Golden Gate Bridge stands as one of America’s most majestic and beloved landmarks.

As early as 1872 there was talk about “bridging the gate” (Elliot) by Charles Crocker, who proposed that he wanted to build a railroad bridge across the Golden Gate. City officials thought this would just be too risky and others thought it would be impossible. James Wilkins, with a degree in engineering, took employment with the San Francisco Bulletin and “in 1916 began an editorial campaign to bridge the gate” (Doherty 9). He suggested that a suspension bridge would work. A suspension bridge supports a long span in its middle by using cables that are suspended from towers at either end. At the time, ferry boats took people north and south across the bay. Joseph Strauss was a bridge builder who had come to San Francisco on business and read Wilkins’s article. The thought of building a bridge across the Golden Gate excited him. It excited him so much he spent the next 22 years thinking about designing, and building the Golden Gat...

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...Gate “will cost an estimated $147 million” (Doherty 41). As costs of repairing and maintaining the bridge have gone up, so have the tolls. The original toll of 50 cents each way was reduced a number of times until it “was 25 cents in 1955” (Barter 99). Since then, it has gone up steadily. In 1971, the toll was increased to “one dollar” (Doherty 41). It hit “two dollars in 1981 and three dollars in 1991” (Doherty).

Although there are now taller and longer bridges in the world, there are few other bridges that are recognized as easily as the Golden Gate Bridge. The bridge that people said was impossible to build has become a shining example of human engineering. It is also a permanent monument to the skill and dedication of the many people who made Strauss’s dream a reality. Today, the Golden Gate Bridge stands as one of America’s most majestic and beloved landmarks.

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