Following decades of public calls to connect the burgeoning metropolis of San Francisco to its neighbors across the mile-wide Golden Gate Strait, city engineer Michael O’Shaughnessy in 1919 was charged with finding someone capable of constructing a bridge at a reasonable cost. The job went to a Chicago-based engineer named Joseph Strauss, a drawbridge builder who believed he could complete the grand-scale project for a modest $25 to $30 million.
The project gained momentum in May 1923 when the state legislature passed the Golden Gate Bridge and Highway District Act of California for the purpose of planning, designing and financing construction. A special district was formed in 1923 to oversee the bridge’s formation, and after years of legal battles waged by the opposition, construction finally commenced in early 1933. Given the chance for steady employment amid the Great Depression, the crew braved treacherous conditions as the roadway and towers took shape over the open ocean.
The project met fierce resistance from an array of business and civic leaders; including the military, the loggers, and the railroads. Construction commenced on January 5, 1933, with the excavation of 3.25 million cubic feet of dirt to establish the bridge’s 12-story-tall anchorages. The crew consisted of virtually anyone capable of withstanding the physical rigors of the job, as out-of-work cab drivers, farmers, clerks lined up for the chance to earn steady wages as ironworkers and cement mixers.
The roadway was completed on April 19, 1937, and the bridge officially opened to pedestrians on May 27 of that year. As part of the festivities, Strauss dedicated a poem titled “A Mighty Task Is Done.” The following day, President Roosevelt announced that the bridge was open to cars and the rest of the world via White House telegraph.
The Golden Gate Bridge has endured as a marvel of modern engineering; its 4,200-foot main span was the longest for a suspension bridge until 1981, while its 746-foot towers made it the tallest bridge of any type until 1993. Believed to be the most photographed bridge in the world, this landmark was named one of the 7 civil engineering wonders of the United States by the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1994.
The presentation covers the following:
Call for a Bridge
Opposition & Litigation
John Roebling Company
“Halfway to Hell Club”
Designers & Engineers
The Paint Color
End of Presentation
I also offer several individual power point presentations on .....National Construction Projects.