Happy birthday Golden Gate. – The car

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And the May 28, 1937 when the Golden Gate Bridge is inaugurated, the suspension bridge over the homonymous strait that connects San Francisco and Marin County on the Pacific Ocean. At noon on the same day, the President of the United States of America Franklin Delano Roosevelt, from his Oval Office in Washington, presses a button that establishes – at about 3 thousand miles away – the official opening of the bridge to vehicular traffic.

The opposition of public opinion to the construction of the structure and the Great Depression of 1929 did not stop the engineer Joseph Strauss who managed to find sufficient financial support to give life to the great project.

Also known as “the bridge that could not be built”, today it is one of the most famous attractions of the city and of the USA, but perhaps not everyone knows the curiosities that contributed to making it so famous.

1) The origin of the name

The name of the bridge derives from the strait on which it hangs, the Golden Gate (“golden access”). Until 1840 this area was known as “Boca del Puerto de San Francisco” but in 1846 it changed its name when John C. Fremont, general and explorer, saw a strong resemblance between the Californian strait and the Golden Horn, the fjord that divides the city of Istanbul in two.

In fact, he wrote in his memoirs: “To this gate I gave the name of Chrysopylae or Golden Gate, for the same reasons that the port of Byzantium was called Chrysoceras, or Golden Horn”.

2) Color “International Orange”

The color of the bridge, which at first glance might look red, is actually orange. The shade is called “international orange” and is chosen on the advice of the architect Irving Morrow because it makes the bridge visible even in foggy conditions – typical of the region – to boats passing through the strait.

The original lead paint was removed from 1965 to be replaced by a zinc primer and an acrylic finish. Originally, the U.S. Navy wanted the bridge to be painted gold in black stripes.

3) The pedestrian bridge

On May 27, the day before the official inauguration, the bridge is opened to the public in a ceremony called “Pedestrians Day”. During the day, about 200 thousand pedestrians cross the stretch of road.

4) Some numbers of the Golden Gate Bridge

The bridge is a real engineering challenge made up of numbers. It measures 2.71 kilometers in length, 67 meters high with high tide conditions and the two towers reach 225 meters above the water level.

There are 4 years of work (from 1933 to 1937); 2 the highways that run through it, the U.S. Route 101 and California State Route 1; 23 thousand stairs and passages of the architectural complex which forced insiders to always carry a 26-page manual so as not to get lost and 2,025,883,491 vehicles which, according to a 2014 survey, have passed since the official opening.

5) “The club halfway to hell”

The bridge since 1937 it was the site of 1,300 suicides with an average of one every two weeks, due to its very low protective barriers of about one and a half meters. During the construction works 11 workers died falling, another 19 were saved by the protective net stretched at the bottom of the bridge. Survivors joined a club called “Halfway to Hell Club” (The club halfway to hell).

6) The poet engineer

The inauguration of the bridge inspired the song “There’s a Silver Moon on the Golden Gate” and the poem “The Might Task is Done” written by Joseph Strauss, the engineer who designed the bridge. This is how the first verses recite: “The majestic work is finally completed / shining in the western sun / from the mountains looming over the bridge / Its titanic pylons sink into the ocean / Its steel arms link beach to beach / Its towers pierce the sky. ”

7) The link with the engines

The Golden Gate Bridge has a strong link with motorsport. And the place of sporting celebrations especially for the NASCAR champions and in 2015 he was chosen by the driver Mario Andretti to drive the number 25 car of his teammate Justin Wilson, who died in a tragic accident.

8) Bay Bridge, the “older brother”

In San Francisco there is another bridge. It is about Bay Bridge that connects San Francisco with Oakland. Designed by Charles H. Purcell, it opened six months before the Golden Gate Bridge, exactly November 12, 1936. In addition, this structure inspired the Nba Golden State Warriors team logo.

9) Cult place

The bridge served as a backdrop for numerous cinematographic films becoming a cult place in films like Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Woman Who Lived Twice” (Vertigo) who had already chosen it as a location in 1951, calling it “the ideal place for a crime”.

10) 50th Anniversary

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the structure, about 300 thousand people flock to the bridge slightly flattening its structure. From that moment, in fact, such celebrations are no longer organized.





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