Blue Umbrella Official Feb 2020 issue - Page 13

This day in history Golden Gate Bridge break s ground By Luke V. On February 26th, 1933, crowds celebrated the groundbreaking of the Golden Gate Bridge in the San Francisco Bay. The bridge would become one of the most iconic landmarks in the United States of America, and its groundbreaking ceremony would be a notable moment in U.S. history. Interestingly, though, the ceremony was over a month late. The construction work had actually started without any notice on January 5th, 1933. The late ceremony was likely a result of the bridge being highly controversial. There were over 2,300 lawsuits attempting to prevent the bridge?s construction. Some of these lawsuits resulted from fear of business loss. For example, the Southern Pacific Railroad, which owned the ferry company that profited from the severe lack of bridges across the San Francisco Bay, violently opposed the bridge and filed a lawsuit aiming to remove funding from its construction. Other lawsuits were filed by environmentalists claiming that the bridge would ruin the beauty of the bay (which is a funny concept in retrospect, now that we see the Golden Gate Bridge as a highlight of the Bay). The bridge was also initially opposed by the U.S. Department of War, which feared the bridge would interfere with nautical travel through the San Francisco Bay. This concern was one of the worst for the builders of the bridge, as the Department of War owned both sides of the bay?s narrow strait. Without the approval of the department, it would be impossible for construction to begin. Despite all this controversy, the bridge was eventually approved and funded. The head engineer, Joseph Strauss, had 100 workers begin construction on January 5th. The bridge was completed in 1937, far ahead of schedule and significantly under budget. It was the longest suspension bridge in the world for 27 years, and it is now one of the most recognizable structures in the United States. All in all, the Golden Gate Bridge, through all of its trials and tribulations, has added a beautiful, practical, and globally-known site to the San Francisco Bay.