Where is the Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge - the symbol of San Francisco

Absolute symbol of the USA, world record holder for a long time and the only bridge in the world in the color "International Orange". The Golden Gate Bridge, which connects San Francisco and the Marin Peninsula, is definitely cult and a visit is an essential part of a vacation on the west coast of the USA.

Table of Contents
What makes the Golden Gate Bridge so special? | Numbers, dates, facts about the Golden Gate Bridge | History of the Golden Gate Bridge | Where does the characteristic orange color of the bridge come from? | Where does the name Golden Gate Bridge come from? | Notable events at the bridge | The Golden Gate Bridge for tourists | Hotels, Apartments and Vacation Rentals | Sightseeing and activity tickets | Which sights can I combine with a visit to the bridge? | How to get to the Golden Gate Bridge

What can you tell about the Golden Gate Bridge? A lot. The Golden Gate Bridge is located in the northwestern United States of America in San Francisco and connects the city from north to south with Marin County and the Napa and Sonoma valleys.

The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge that spans the strait that connects San Francisco Bay to the Pacific. It is an absolutely amazing structure that requires the same maintenance work as an oil rig. The suspension bridge is the symbol of San Francisco and next to the Statue of Liberty one of the symbols of the USA.

What makes the Golden Gate Bridge so special?

After a little more than 4 years of construction, the bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world when it was completed in 1937 and is still one of the longest suspension bridges today. If the access bridges are also included in the total length of the structure, it is 2.737 kilometers. In addition, the engineering marvel, which quickly became a symbol of the city in California after its construction and opening, was built in just four years.

And there are quite a few other records to be found if you look at the bridge over the Golden Gate. The pillars or pylons are tallest, the cable strands are the longest and the thickest. The masterpiece also broke the record for the largest underwater foundations between San Francisco and Marin Counties.

The main cables have a diameter of 92 centimeters and a length of 2,332 meters. It is these main cables that keep the lane for road traffic, the cycle paths for the cyclists and the footpaths in suspension. The road is about 60 meters above the surface of the water. The clear passage height for navigation at high tide is 67 meters.

The longest suspension bridge in the United States is the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in New York City. The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is 18 meters longer than the Golden Gate Bridge.

Numbers, dates, facts about the Golden Gate Bridge

  • construction: Suspension bridge
  • overall length: 2,732 meters
  • width: 27 meters
  • span: 1280 meters
  • height: 227 meters
  • Headroom: 67 meters at high tide
  • start of building: January 5, 1933
  • completion: April 19, 1937
  • opening: 27./28. May 1937
  • construction time: 4 years and 4 months
  • building-costs: $ 35 million (adjusted for inflation: $ 629 million)
  • planner: Chief engineer and builder Joseph Baermann Strauss, Charles A. Ellis, Irving F. Morrow. Specialists from the University of California were also involved in the planning.

The road over the Golden Gate Bridge has six vehicle lanes plus bicycle and pedestrian lanes. 750,000 tons of steel were used for Strauss' building and large amounts of concrete required the construction of a concrete plant at the foot of the bridge. 27,572 wires were required per suspension cable, which in total have a length that could span the globe three times. Each of the two carrying cables is over 90 cm thick. The bridge weighs a total of 887,000 tons. Approx. 600,000 rivets were used in the landmark, the last rivet being made of gold.

And there was a new highlight on the bridge in 2020. Because the world-famous bridge with a span of 1,280 meters and its high towers was given a new railing that you can hear eerily singing or howling in the wind. The sounds of the building can be heard particularly clearly in a westerly wind. Maybe you are lucky and it blows while you are at the bridge.

History of the Golden Gate Bridge

The first plans for the Golden Gate Bridge were made in 1872, but were discarded because of the many problems to be expected such as strong currents, fog, wind and the risk of earthquakes. In 1921, engineer Joseph Strauss presented the first plans to bridge the bay. However, the plans of the later chief engineer and builder Strauss for the building could not inspire at that time. And so the vehicles continued to be transported across the bay by ferry.

But the number of vehicles grew and when the ferry had to carry two million vehicles, the ship reached its capacity limits and more thought was given to a bridge in order to make it possible to travel across the strait. And of course the construction had to be able to withstand currents and storms and be as earthquake-proof as possible.

In 1924, the war ministry released the two plots of land on the bay for the undertaking - in protest of the ferry operating company, which now filed a flood of over 2,000 individual lawsuits to prevent the bridge builders from building the Golden Gate Bridge. In 1929 came the stock market crash and with it the Great Depression. But despite the stock market crash, the financing of the construction costs for the bridge construction in 1930 could be secured through bonds amounting to 35 million US dollars. These construction costs of 39 million US dollars (the bond plus the accrued interest) could be repaid in full in 1971.

Construction of the Golden Gate Bridge began on January 5, 1933

The construction of the bridge with an eventual span of 1,280 meters finally began almost a decade later on January 5, 1933. First of all, the northern pylon of the structure was erected when the bridge was being built, although this pylon was child's play in view of the challenges that were still to come during the construction work. On the north bank of the strait there was rocky subsoil on which the pillar was placed during the construction work.

The construction of the southern pillar, which had to be anchored 340 meters from Fort Point with its foundation at a depth of 33 meters, brought complications. The temporary bridge built for this purpose was destroyed by a ship and suffered multiple damage from high waves in storms. The pillar therefore took two years to complete, which delayed the project. The outer shape of the pylons was designed by the architect Irving F. Morrow.

To form the suspension cables, 27,572 wires each had to be pulled over the pylons and then formed into a round parallel wire rope. During the construction work, the deck girder was installed from the outside, so that at the end the two sections met in the middle of the bridge. This happened on November 20, 1936. The work on the bridge over the strait could be finished cheaper and earlier than planned on April 19, 1937.

The bridge was opened on May 28, 1937

On May 28, 1937 12:00 p.m. local time, the Golden Gate Bridge was opened to traffic in the city of California after it was opened by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. And the traffic is neat on the bridge. Around 40 million vehicles use the lanes annually to cross the strait. So many every day that the toll income when entering the city is usually enough to cover the maintenance of the bridge. Incidentally, the President himself was not present at the time, but opened the bridge at 12 o'clock with a telegraphic signal from the White House.

Charles Alton Ellis - the “forgotten” designer of the bridge

Charles Alton Ellis was a professor, civil engineer and mathematician and, together with Joseph Strauss, submitted the final plans for the bridge in 1930. However, the actual designer of the Art Deco-style bridge was soon dismissed by Strauss and his work was not publicly recognized. It is said that Strauss wanted to be celebrated alone in his role as the builder of this masterpiece.

Where does the characteristic orange color of the bridge come from?

Anyone who sees the Golden Gate Bridge live or even just sees a view of it will quickly notice the color of the paint. But why is the world famous bridge with the impressive towers actually painted orange? There are aesthetic reasons for this. Actually, the steel structure should have been painted gray according to the design by the engineer Strauss. However, this color of the steel girders was discarded again due to the protest of the Navy.

However, an orange anti-rust paint was already applied from the factory upon delivery. The residents of the city liked this paint so much that it was finally left with the anti-rust paint. However, the “International Orange” is no longer the original. The anti-rust paint has been replaced several times over the years.

Where does the name Golden Gate Bridge come from?

One of the facts that is not mentioned that often when it comes to the world famous bridge is how the name of the Golden Gate Bridge actually came about. The fact is that the strait that spans the bridge is known as the Golden Gate. This name was given to it at the time of the gold rush, when numerous people on the trail of the precious metal traveled by ship across the sea to the city and used the Golden Gate as an entrance. In addition, the words are a reference to the nickname of the state of California, Golden State. The current through the Golden Gate changes with the tide. The water depth in this strait is up to 90 meters.

Notable events at the bridge

A place as famous as the Golden Gate Bridge naturally also attracts memorable events and, unfortunately, often also people who want to end their lives and commit suicide.

  • Protection for those at risk of suicide: The railing, which is only 1.20 meters high, is an insignificant obstacle for suicides and so there have been more than 1700 successful suicides since the opening of the bridge by President Roosevelt. It is now known that people who decide to commit suicide by jumping the bridge are impulse perpetrators and> 90% of them do not try to commit suicide a second time. Raising the railing is too much of a financial outlay, so a net is being built on both sides of the bridge to prevent jumping into the bay. Hopefully this will save the lives of desperate people and reduce the number of deaths in the future.
  • 50th anniversary of the bridge: For the 50th anniversary of the bridge on May 24, 1987, there were around 300,000 people on the bridge at the same time. This led to a lowering of the bridge by about two meters. According to engineers, this is not a cause for concern as the bridge was designed for such fluctuations. However, this action was not repeated because there is fear of a mass panic on the landmark.
  • Half Way to Hell Club: The workers who laid the cables worked at dizzying heights in wind speeds of around 70 km / hour. Nevertheless, one shift managed to lay 1000 miles of cable in one go. That corresponds to over 1,600 kilometers. Some workers also fell into the bay during the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge and died in the strait. A safety net was therefore installed, which inspired the men who fell into it to found the “Half Way to Hell Club”. There was never a complete list of all members of the club and the first and last member died at the age of 95 in 2000. In February 1937, a machine fell into the safety net and carried away some workers. The machine perforated the net and 10 people were killed in the strait.
  • Blockages: Since opening, the bridge has only had to be closed to car traffic three times due to strong winds. It survived a strong earthquake in 1989 unscathed. The longest closure in the history of the bridge occurred in 2015, when an adjustable central plank system was installed to reduce the risk of accidents.
  • Protection against earthquakes: Although the bridge in California had withstood a strong earthquake, the Loma Prieta earthquake, as early as 1989, they wanted to make sure that future earthquakes could affect the bridge as little as possible. The bridge was therefore retrofitted in the 1990s and 2000s for possible earthquakes of magnitude 8.3. Among other things, the foundations were reinforced to protect against strong earthquakes.

The Golden Gate Bridge for tourists

The Golden Gate Bridge has drawn numerous tourists for decades. They can also cross the Art Deco style bridge on foot. Because in addition to the lanes for traffic, the beauty also has a pedestrian crossing on the bay side in the east. For a walk over the span of 1,280 kilometers there and back, you should plan around 1.5 hours as a pedestrian. The bike path invites you to cross the bridge over the water of the Pacific on two wheels.

Hotels, apartments and holiday homes

For hotels, apartments and vacation rentals near the Golden Gate Bridge, visit www.booking.com.

The right weather to visit

The Golden Gate Bridge in the fog is a sight known from many pictures. However, it is not necessarily the desired view if you visit the attraction live on site. After all, you don't want to enjoy the technical wonder hidden under gray, but in all its red splendor. So it is best to pay attention to the weather before you set out on the trail of the gold prospectors and the dreamers of the hippie era to this place.

The best time to visit the beauty is to choose a day without fog, which is why the months of April to June are considered the best time of year. In midsummer and fall, the Golden Gate Bridge can be shrouded in fog throughout your vacation. Hot air from the Sierra Nevada meets moist, cool air from the Pacific and this is how the mystical fog forms. Outside of the city it can also be a few degrees warmer than in San Francisco itself. The urban areas in the east are consistently sunnier and less affected by fog.

It is also worth visiting the bridge with a span of 1,280 meters, the high towers and the main cables with a diameter of 92 centimeters as part of a guided tour. These are offered, for example, on foot, by catamaran or helicopter.

And if you want, you can also rent bicycles at the southern end of the bridge and, instead of walking, cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge from the south.

tip: Why don't you visit San Francisco on New Year's Eve? A unique opportunity to take photos of the gigantic bridge with magnificent fireworks in the background!

Tickets for attractions and activities

Tickets for sights and activities near the Golden Gate Bridge or in San Francisco can be found at www.getyourguide.de.

Which sights can I combine with a visit to the bridge?

There are many things to see in San Francisco, so you can easily spend a day or several here. There are also many opportunities for worthwhile activities and excursions around the bay.

  • Alcatraz: You can take boat tours on the water in San Francisco Bay. Among other things, to Alcatraz. The world-famous Prison Island on San Francisco Bay was not always a prison - you can learn all this and much more about The Rock on a guided tour.
  • Golden Gate National Recreation Area with the Marin Headlands: The Golden Gate National Recreation Areas adjoin both banks. After walking across the bridge, why not take another lap through one of the largest parks in an urban setting?

    The Marin Headlands are immediately behind the gigantic bridge. They are an excellent vantage point and offer a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge in all its glory, the view of the San Francisco skyline and, in the distance, the view of Alcatraz and the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge. An excellent place to stretch your legs a bit as a pedestrian and at the same time to take one or two great photos from this beautiful vantage point. You have a nice view from Conzelman Road.

  • Fort Point: The Fort Point National Historic Site is located under the southern bridge route and can look back on a long history.The fort was built by Spanish settlers in 1793, but was initially transferred to the Mexicans in 1821 and then to the United States in 1848. The fort has been used for defense over the years and soldiers were stationed there by the War Ministry. The historic site should have been demolished when the bridge was built, but luckily it could be preserved.
  • Bay Bridge: If you want to explore another famous bridge in San Francisco besides the majestic Golden Gate Bridge, you should definitely include the Bay Bridge in your plans, which connects San Francisco and Oakland.
  • Vista Point: You can reach the lookout point if you drive out of town and take the corresponding junction. A great place to take pictures of the bridge's pavement.

How to get to the Golden Gate Bridge

  • By car: Simply follow the signs by car or rental car. Getting to the bridge from anywhere in San Francisco is not difficult. Attention: A toll is due to cross the bridge designed by Strauss. The toll fee is $ 8 per vehicle. If you drive the road with the vehicle in the direction out of town, no toll is due. The toll revenues serve to secure the maintenance of the bridge.
  • By bus: From Union Square, take the 38 bus first and change to the 28 bus at the Park Presidio stop, which goes to the bridge. Another option is to take line 30 from Kearny and Market Street to the final stop (Palace of Fine Arts) and then walk as a pedestrian along Crissy Field or the beach to the Golden Gate Bridge.