Crossings

Golden Gate & Brooklyn Bridges
& Those Who Used to Build Them

We’re slightly past the halfway point in time between the anniversary of two landmark bridges, one in each of the U.S. coasts: the Golden Gate, in San Francisco, will be 75 years old on Sunday. And last Thursday, its was the New York Brooklyn Bridge’s 129th year celebration.
Arguably the most famous crossings in the country, they’re marvels of architecture on their own distinctive styles, and, at the time of their opening, each became briefly the world’s longest suspension bridge.
Curiously, as beloved and celebrated they’re now, their construction faced fierce opposition: the Gate, for ‘ruining’ the view of the mouth of San Francisco Bay; and, this being New York, the Brooklyn Bridge, for having an ‘adverse’ impact on the area’s real estate.
Opening day for both, though, brought hundreds of thousands of people who walked on their decks with pride. Throughout the years, as they both stood longer than many others built and fallen along the way, they came to symbolize the spirit of the cities they serve.
HALFWAY TO HELL CLUB
Before May 27, 1937, when the 1.7 mile suspension bridge built by Charles Ellis, Joseph Strauss and Irving Morrow opened to the public, it’d take San Franciscans a 27-minute ride to cross the bay.
Considering its length, strong currents and 70mph winds whipping the area, construction was relatively fast, lasting four years. In the end, 11 men died during it, but 19 others, who fell from the bridge but survived, formed the ‘Halfway to Hell Club.’
Since its opening, though, the Golden Gate has been known also for a grim statistic: the 1.200 people who jumped to their death from its Continue reading