One of the most famous bridges in the world, the Golden Gate Bridge, opened for pedestrian traffic on May 27, 1937 and to cars the next day after a four and a half year period of construction.
The cost was $35 million. It was referred to as a $35 million dollar steel harp by the San Francisco Chronicle on opening day. Due to the construction of other bridges that are longer, the GGB is now the 7th longest suspension bridge in the world.
Architect Irving Morrow chose the distinctive color which has become world famous, orange vermillion or International Orange. It is not painted every year end to end as some think. In fact only in 1965 was the bridge painted, and then only a touch up. Since those days, the original paint has all been replaced with a water-borne inorganic zinc primer and acrylic topcoat.
At the completion of his mighty bridge, Joseph Strauss penned an impressive ode which he entitled “The Mighty Task Is Done”; it epitomizes his personal travail in building the bridge and makes of the structure almost a living thing. From his poem, these lines give evidence of the dedication of the man who brought the bridge from his brain and heart as well as from his drawing board:
By Joseph P. Strauss, Chief Engineer
Golden Gate Bridge and Highway District
Written upon completion of the building of the Golden Gate Bridge in May 1937
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.
On its broad decks in rightful pride,
The world in swift parade shall ride,
Throughout all time to be;
Beneath, fleet ships from every port,
Vast landlocked bay, historic fort,
And dwarfing all–the sea.
To north, the Redwood Empire’s gates;
‘To south, a happy playground waits,
in Rapturous appeal;
Here nature, free since time began,
Yields to the restless moods of man,
Accepts his bonds of steel.
Launched midst a thousand hopes and fears,
Damned by a thousand hostile sneers,
Yet ne’er its course was stayed,
But ask of those who met the foe
Who stood alone when faith was low,
Ask them the price they paid.
Ask of the steel, each strut and wire,
Ask of the searching, purging fire,
That marked their natal hour;
Ask of the mind, the hand, the heart,
Ask of each single, stalwart part,
What gave it force and power.
An Honored cause and nobly fought
And that which they so bravely wrought,
Now glorifies their deed,
No selfish urge shall stain its life,
Nor envy, greed, intrigue, nor strife,
Nor false, ignoble creed.
High overhead its lights shall gleam,
Far, far below life’s restless stream,
Unceasingly shall flow;
For this was spun its lithe fine form,
To fear not war, nor time, nor storm,
For Fate had meant it so.