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The Golden Gate Bridge Opens and Other Fun Facts

Getty Images, photo by Justin Sullivan

On May 27th, 1937 at 6 am, a foghorn sounded signaling the official opening of the Golden Gate Bridge for people to walk across it. Nearly 200,000 people took advantage of the day by walking, running, roller-skating and even dancing across the bridge. In 1937 it was the longest suspension bridge in the world and of course, San Francisco’s major landmark. The following day, May 28th, 1937, the bridge was officially open to traffic. Here are 6 things you may not know about the Golden Gate Bridge.

1.       The War Department wanted the bridge painted in stripes, the Navy wanted black and yellow, the Army wanted candy stripes of red and white.

2.       The color it is now and has been from the beginning wasn’t intended to stay that color, but after the primer was put on in the ‘international orange’ color it is, they found it to be the best color for ships to see in the fog and it stood-out with the background of the sky and hills.

3.       The original design was rejected and described as an ‘upside down rat-trap. It was changed to the current design.

4.       The Golden Gate Bridge’s first suicide occurred in August 1937, just 3 months after it opened.

5.       The bridge had an impressive safety record while being built, only 11 construction workers died during the building because workers were made to wear construction helmets and a safety net was built under the bridge deck, which saved 19 workers.

6.       The construction of the bridge was financed by local citizens, six counties approved a $35 million bond which required them to put their homes, farms and businesses up for collateral, and that was during the Great Depression.

For the record, the Golden Gate Bridge connects Marin County with the San Francisco Peninsula.

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