Golden Gate Bridge 1937

Golden Gate Bridge 1937

© Mariusz Blach

The Bridge

Perhaps the world’s most famous bridge is the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California. There is a narrow strait where San Francisco Bay meets the Pacific Ocean and in 1937 this was bridged to became the longest main span bridge in the world. It is estimated that 10 million people visit the bridge each year to marvel at its scale and engineering.

There was a growing desire at the start of the 20th century to connect the expanding city of San Francisco to its neighbours across the bay. The chief engineer tasked with constructing a bridge was Joseph Strauss, and he had a talented team who designed and engineered the structure. Leon Moisseiff presented the suspension bridge design, Irving Morrow the art deco towers and Charles Ellis was the structural engineer.

World's Longest Span Bridges in 1973

Golden Gate Bridge, 1937, USA, 1,280m
George Washington Bridge, 1931, USA, 1,067m
San Francisco Bay Bridge (West), 1936, USA, 704m

© Chris Leipelt

Golden Gate Bridge

The world's most iconic suspension bridge

Key Facts

6-lane road bridge

Declared one of the Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers


San Francisco, USA

Across the Golden Gate Strait

Connects San Francisco to Marin County

Designers / Engineers

Joseph Strauss

Charles Ellis

Leon Solomon Moiseiff – Irving Morrow (Architect)


Suspension bridge

1,280.2m main span

2,737.1m total length

Main contractors

McClintic-Marshall Construction Co, a subsidiary of Bethlehem Steel Corporation


Began 5 January 1933

Opened 27 May 1937

Visit the Bridge

Bridge Construction

The construction of such a vast structure was an immense challenge across open waters with strong currents, fierce winds, fog and with the possibility of earthquakes in mind. It demanded a dedicated workforce and new construction techniques. One of the most successful feats was the construction of the bridge’s suspension cables. The John A Roebling & Sons Company has worked on the earlier Brooklyn Bridge and refined their techniques to use spinning wheels to carry 25,000 individual steel wires over the towers and across the straits to build up the giant cables to carry the weight of the deck and traffic.

The bridge was painted its distinctive colour, ‘International Orange’ as a primer protection from corrosion and Irving Morrow chose that it would remain that way on completion.

On May 28th 1937, President Franklin D Roosevelt officially opened the bridge. The Golden Gate bridge has become an icon of San Francisco, of the USA, of engineering achievement and remains perhaps the most photographed bridge in the world.

© Martin Garrido

Other long-span bridges