27 May 2012
THE GOLDEN GATE
Today marks the 75th anniversary of the opening of San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, one of the most internationally recognizable structures on the planet. Clad in international orange, at the time of its completion the 4,200 ft (1,280 m) suspension bridge had the longest main span in the world. At centerline the bridge is 692 ft (211 m) above the water. [Dropped from this height, a human-sized object would attain a velocity of approximately 102 mph ~ so fast that at the bottom of the fall, the impact with water would feel like hitting concrete.]
The American Society of Civil Engineers declared the Golden Gate Bridge to be one of the modern Wonders of the World. Elegant in its simplicity and graceful in its imposing strength, the bridge draws the eye of any observer as it spans the confluence of San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean, while connecting the peninsular city of San Francisco to Marin County.
Thanks to the ever-resourceful Andrea Kuszewski, here is a guide to 1937 San Francisco, including an interactive map. You can zoom in and out, pan in any direction, and explore the city's neighborhoods as they existed then. Numerous icons, when clicked on, give you a flavor of life then. Note that the sentence just above the map is a link to a full screen version.
Above is an image of the Golden Gate Bridge on a clear day. Below, the bridge is enshrouded by San Francisco's trademark fog, with downtown in the background. Click on either image to enlarge.