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.