• Golden Gate Bridge

    Golden Gate Bridge

    The Golden Gate, a strait that separates San Francisco, California from Marin County, links the Pacific Ocean and the San Francisco Bay. From 1820 to 1937, the only way to cross this water was on a ferry. The Golden Gate Bridge offered another option.

    Golden Gate Bridge

    Fun Facts

    • `During the mid-1800s, California boomed with gold mining and agriculture. People needed a way to get from Marin County to San Francisco.
    • The Sausalito Land and Ferry Company opened a ferry operation in 1867 to take train passengers across the strait. By 1920 this company was the largest ferry operation in the world.

      Train Station

    • Ferries began taking cars across the strait at a cost of $1.00 per vehicle. The trip took about 20 minutes.
    • In 1917, engineer Joseph Strauss designed a bridge to span the strait, which would eliminate the need for ferries.

      Joseph Strauss Memorial

    • Many people thought a bridge was a terrible idea. Experts warned that it wouldn’t be safe because of the high winds, fog, and turbulent water in the strait. The Navy feared that a collision with the bridge would block the harbor. The Southern Pacific Railroad, which owned the ferries by that time, knew that the bridge would destroy their business. They filed lawsuits to stop the bridge’s construction.
    • After 10 years of trying to gain support, Strauss was finally able to begin planning the bridge. Engineers decided that it must be a suspension bridge, which Strauss had no experience with. Officials hired Charles Alton Ellis as the principal engineer. Ellis was a Greek scholar and mathematician.

      Crop Subsampling

    • Irving Morrow was hired to design the streetlights, towers, and lanes. He chose an Art Deco style and the bright orange color.

      Golden Gate Plaque

    • Strauss fired and replaced Ellis at one point. Ellis was so excited about the project that he continued to work without pay, often working 70 hours a week.
    • The bridge was completed in 1937 at a cost of $35 million. It was completed ahead of schedule and for $1.3 million under budget.

      San Francisco Bay Bridges Map

    • During the opening dedication on May 27, 1937, 200,000 people walked or roller skated across the bridge before traffic was allowed on it. Festivities went on for more than a week.

      Golden Gate

    • In 1987, for the 50thanniversary celebration, the city once again closed the bridge to traffic to allow pedestrians to cross it. Between 750,000 and 1 million people crowded onto the bridge, causing it to flatten. Worried officials took the people off the bridge.
    • The Golden Gate Bridge has six lanes for vehicles and two lanes for pedestrians and bikers.
    • The toll to cross the bridge in 1937 was .50. In 1955, it was reduced to .25. Today it costs more than $8 to cross the bridge.

      Pedestrain Day

    • The Golden Gate Bridge is an iconic landmark to California and the United States, recognized around the world. It spans 4,200 feet and rises 746 feet in the air.

      Below Golden Gate Bridge


    1. Strait: a narrow strip of water that joins two bodies of water
    2. Ferry: small boat
    3. Turbulent: rough or dangerous


    Questions and Answers

    Question: Was building the bridge dangerous?

    Answer: Yes, but Ellis installed moveable safety nets that reduced the danger in the event of a fall. 21 men were saved by the nets after falling, although 11 men were killed during construction.


    Learn More

    Visit the Golden Gate Bridge website.

    Golden Gate Bridge


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MLA Style Citation

Declan, Tobin. " Golden Gate Bridge Facts ." American History for Kids, May 2024. Web. 22 May 2024. < https://www.americanhistoryforkids.com/golden-gate-bridge/ >.

APA Style Citation

Tobin, Declan. (2024). Golden Gate Bridge Facts. American History for Kids. Retrieved from https://www.americanhistoryforkids.com/golden-gate-bridge/

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