The Golden Gate Bridge Turns 73 Years Old

Seventy-three years ago today, President Franklin D. Roosevelt opened California's Golden Gate Bridge. More than 6,463 feet long and over 754 feet tall, the Golden Gate on the day it opened became the longest suspension bridge in the world, a record it held until 1964. Today, eight other bridges surpass it.

Construction began on January 5, 1933 and was completed April 1937. The infamous color of the bridge, International Orange, was originally only the hue of the sealant, but public opinion convinced its designer to pick a similar orange for the final paint shade. Artist Ray Strong paid glowing homage to the construction project in his 1934 depiction, which for a time hung in Roosevelt's White House and is now a part of the collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.  Looking north into the foothills of Marin County, the busy shipping lane that the bridge would eventually span is filled with tugboats and a freighter.  And in the foreground, the workers are dwarfed by the massive pylons and other preconstruction structures.

Golden Gate Bridge by Ray Strong, 1934. Courtesy of the Smithsonian American Art Museum

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