The great golden bridge completes 75 years
The Golden Gate Bridge was a larger than life engineering project undertaken against dangerous odds and it opened 75 years ago on Sunday against vehement protest, at the cost of 11 lives.One of the most astonishing and admired man-made wonders of the world, gracing millions of postcards, featured in countless films, the bridge was not at first welcomed with open arms.Ferry operators and environmentalists opposed it, and many engineers doubted such a daring leap over a treacherous Pacific Ocean strait could be built. The military worried a collapsed Golden Gate span could block access to the Bay in war time.Building the Golden Gate, at an estimated cost of $1.2 billion in current dollars, was a Herculean task. While the idea took hold in the prosperous 1920s, by the time ground was broken the Depression had left many people desperate for jobs.Even the bridge’s arresting dark orange color was an accident, first used as a primer while designers decided what to paint it.
The Navy had argued for black with yellow stripes, to ensure it could be seen in a strait hostile to mariners, with dense fog, heavy winds and strong ocean swells.In the end, bridge authorities decided they liked the color – known as International Orange – and stuck with it