Golden gate stories forgotten or never told:
All great projects pit people against the limits of what is achievable.
the Golden Gate before that bridge
The span wasn't just huge, it was deep, and currents fast. It was over 2 miles of undoable.
It took somebody crazy to say let's do this
Back around 1860 during the Gold Rush, SF was still mostly scrub brush and dunes,. The SF persona self-named “Emperor Norton” (shown riding bike at far right) wrote a proclamation declaring the need for the bridge to span the Golden Gate
orders feats of engineering
Fifty years later, SF’s lead engineer O’Shaughnessy had just finished getting water from the Sierras all the way to SF. The pic at left with the colonnades is the Pulgas temple, erected in Redwood City where the Hetch Hetchy water arrives in the Bay Area. Ready for a challenge, he put out a call for proposals to design a span across the Golden Gate.
Joseph Strauss, who built the draw-bridge on third street at the ballpark (pictured top right and still in operation) answered the call. His proposal’s aesthetics (shown below right ) failed to win over public opinion. My Strauss didn't want to give credit to some of the major players such as the chief engineer, who only recently was acknowledged for his contributions
Elegance, then disaster
Leon Mosseiff, of Manhattan Bridge fame, was asked to produce a more elegant design. His very next bridge after the Golden Gate was ever too slender such that it rippled in the wind until it spectacularly failed at Tacoma Narrows.
excommunicated engineering expert
Charles Ellis, the ruling expert on steel engineering used a slide rule to calculate all the forces by hand. His signature is on the bridge drawings in the library of congress but was only recently credited due to a tiff with Strauss.
theater designer sais go Deco
Where did the bridge get it’s art-deco flair? John Eberson, famous for arabesque theater interiors (near left) also invented the modern theater marquis designs that are still synonymous with theater signage today. On far left is his signed sketch showing his "DECO"-rative contribution.
The bridge was slated to be grey or black until local architect on the job Irving Morrow argued for the now famous International Orange after seeing the reddish primer during the construction phase. While there is a specific color to the version of International Orange used on the bridge, the longer it's out in the sun's UV rays, the lighter it gets.
The carnegie Foundation
The Steel came from Carnegie’s Homestead Steel Factory in Pennsylvania. 40 years earlier it was the site of one of America’s first major strikes for labor rights which ended up turning into the “Homestead Massacre” which precipitated the labor rights movement in America.
Missed branding opportunity
The stamps on our steel bear the name of Andrew Carnegie . The company awarded the bridge work was US Steel, the name JP Morgan gave it after he bought it from Carnegie. (note the "H" at the end denotes the Homestead Mill.)
prior to automated welding robots
Hot rivets hold it all together. The entire bridge was fastened this way. You often see original rivets from the bridge in our designs.
The source for our metal is the seismic upgrade work that involved replacing steel from the under-structures of the bridge