Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco Chronicle/Corbis

On May 27, 1937, the city of San Francisco offered its residents something colossal. Using their feet — not a boat — hundreds of thousands of people crossed the San Francisco Bay, hundreds of feet above the ground. They did so by making their game-changing sojourn on the Golden Gate Bridge, which opened that very day and set the course for the Bay Area’s subsequent development.

Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco Chronicle

This infrastructural feat did not come without struggle. Construction began in 1933, but its completion was threatened by the Depression, administrative hurdles, and dueling egos. Eleven people died while constructing the bridge, with those who fell but survived being deemed members of the “Halfway to Hell” club.

But the pains were worth it; the 4,200 feet long bridge still stands today. Since its completion, more than a billion cars have passed over the Golden Gate Bridge, and it’s only been closed three times.

Check out these photos from San Francisco in the 1960s. Then, read more about the world’s tallest bridge, the Millau Viaduct.

Elisabeth Sherman
Elisabeth Sherman
Elisabeth Sherman is a writer living in Jersey City, New Jersey.
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