The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most frequently visited sites in the San Francisco area. Many tourists can easily see that it’s a massive, impressive, staggering work of engineering but they don’t always know some of the fascinating history behind it. Goldengatebridge.org has a ton of interesting information, including a list of Frequently Asked Questions. Here are three of our favorite facts.
1. The Golden Gate Bridge once had the world’s largest suspension span
As the website states, “The 4,200-foot long suspension span of the Golden Gate Bridge was the longest span in the world from the time of its construction in 1937 until New York City’s Verrazano Narrows Bridge was opened on November 21, 1964. It is 60 feet longer than the Golden Gate Bridge. The Verrazano was the longest single span bridge until July 17, 1981, when the Humber Bridge in England, spanning the Humber River, was opened for traffic with a main span of 4,626 feet. Today, both the Great Belt East Bridge in Denmark (main span of 5,328 feet) and the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge in Japan (main span of 6,532 feet) have main span lengths which exceed that of the Humber Bridge. The table below shows the relative suspension bridges in comparison.
2. The name has nothing to do with its color
While it’s obvious today that the name isn’t related to its color, many tourists assume that it was once gold. In fact, according to the website, “The term Golden Gate refers to the Golden Gate Strait which is the entrance to the San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean. The strait is approximately three-miles long by one-mile wide with currents ranging from 4.5 to 7.5 knots. It is generally accepted that the strait was named “Chrysopylae” or Golden Gate by Army Captain John C. Fremont, circa 1846. It is said it reminded him of a harbor in Istanbul named Chrysoceras or Golden Horn.”
3. The Golden Gate Bridge was once on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine
The website tells an interesting story about Rolling Stone, “On February 26, 1976, the Golden Gate Bridge appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine as the backdrop with five prominent San Francisco based rockers of the day, with a title above the photo that read, ‘What a Long Strange Trip it’s Been.’”