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.
From the poem “The Mighty Task Is Done,” Joseph Strauss, 1937.
In addition to remembering our men and women of the armed forces, we in the Bay Area also celebrated the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge. Construction began on January 5, 1933 and on May 27, 1937 the bridge was opened with a pedestrian day. Thousands of people turned out to walk across the bridge for the first time. The bridge opened to auto traffic on May 28, 1937.
Officials celebrated the bridges’ 50th anniversary with a pedestrian day. With about 300,000 people on the bridge, the roadway flattened — a bit spooky! Rather than repeat this event, the 75th anniversary celebration concluded with a fireworks display from the Golden Gate Bridge. All auto and foot traffic was closed for the pyrotechnics to begin about 9:30 p.m. and last for approximately 20 minutes.
On October 19, 1968 the Golden Gate Bridge became the first bridge in the world to offer one-way toll collection.
The one-billionth car crossed the bridge on February 22, 1985.
On opening day, Joseph Strauss said, “This bridge needs neither praise, eulogy nor encomium. It speaks for itself. We who have labored long are grateful. What Nature rent asunder long ago, man has joined today.”
Quite a party for quite a bridge. Happy Birthday!
Click here to see a video of the spectacular fireworks!
Note: Acknowledgement for the use of some of these quotations is given to “The Golden Gate” by Peter Beren and Morton Beebe, Insight Editions, © 2012.