Exhibit Area 1
(Plaza area)
Welcome Sign [main directory]
How the Bridge Spans the Golden Gate
Bridge Aesthetics - Art Deco on a Grand Scale
Tall and Strong - The Bridge Towers
Steel, Fog, Salt, Rust, and Paint

Exhibit Area 2
(near flagpole)
How the Bridge Vibrates

Exhibit Area 3
(West side of Bridge near underpass)
Historic Preservation: Lattice Strut Retrofit
Historic Preservation: Isolator Seismic Retrofit

Exhibit Area 4
(inside Battery area)
History: Design and Construction of the Bridge
Suspension Cable Tension vs. Tower Height
Battery Lancaster - Defending the Golden Gate

Exhibit Area 5
(along bike path to lower parking lot)
Bridge Deck Aerodynamics
Bridge Deck Torsional Resistance Retrofit
Wind Speed and Wind Pressure

Exhibit Area 6
(near Pavillion)
LIFETILES: animated construction of the Bridge
Braille / Tactile Model of the Bridge

Project Partners

Golden Gate Bridge,
Highway and Transporation District


Consortium of Universities for Research
in Earthquake Engineering

Main Menu : Exhibit Area 4

History of the Design and Construction of the Bridge


San Francisco grew rapidly in the early 1900s, but the mile-wide Golden Gate Strait limited access and development to the north. Traveling north to Marin County and the Redwood Empire beyond required a lengthy trip by ferryboat.

In 1923, popular support to build a bridge across the strait united behind the slogan “Bridge the Gate.” Bridge supporters convinced the California state legislature to create a special district, the Golden Gate Bridge and Highway District, as the entity to finance, build, and operate such a bridge. In 1928, the District was incorporated and included the counties of San Francisco, Marin, Sonoma, Del Norte, and parts of Napa and Mendocino.

A bridge over the Golden Gate Strait was the ambition of Joseph B. Strauss, who overcame many obstacles to secure official approvals and win public support. Strauss faced strong opposition from ferry operators, conservationists, and even some in the engineering community. He assembled and directed an outstanding team of engineers, architects, geologists, and construction workers to design and build a bridge that set a world record for longest span (the distance spanned between the towers) and united a growing metropolis.


Chief Engineer Strauss reviews plans with some of the key design consultants

Image courtesy of the San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library

In November 1930, despite the ongoing hardships of the Great Depression, district voters approved $35 million in bonds.

The Golden Gate Strait, 1.7 miles (2.7 kilometers) wide, as it was before (shown above) and after the Bridge was built. Marin County is on the left and San Francisco on the right.

All images property of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District (unless otherwise indicated).

For more information -

Concept for a Bridge Across the Golden Gate Strait

Special District Formed - Golden Gate Bridge and Highway District

Bond Measure Passes - Against the Odds?

[back] [next] [return to main menu]

Last updated: 11.16.12