80th Anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge has turned 80 years old on Saturday, May 27, 2017. The Golden Gate Bridge spans the Golden Gate Strait – the entrance to the San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean – from San Francisco to Marin County.

The most famous suspension bridge was designed by team of exceptional professionals led by Joseph Baermann Strauss. Strauss was the visionary, promoter, team builder, coordinator, and manager of the preliminary and final designs for the bridge.

As Chief engineer, Strauss overcame many problems. He had to find funding and support for the bridge from the citizens and the U.S. military. There were also innovations in the way the bridge was constructed. It had to span one of the greatest distances ever spanned, reach heights that hadn’t been seen in a bridge, and hold up to the forces of the ocean.

Strauss was concerned with the safety of his workers. He required that a net be installed beneath the Golden Gate Bridge during construction. This net saved a total of 19 lives.

Most notably was the participation by the following individuals, all of whom, with the exception of Charles A. Ellis, who served as Design Engineer under Strauss from 1922 to 1931, are named on a dedication plaque that remains mounted on the San Francisco tower of the Bridge to this day:

  • Clifford E. Paine, Strauss Engineering Corporation Vice President, served as Principal Assistant Engineer during final design and construction
  • Russell G. Cone was Resident Engineer during construction
  • Charles Clarahan, Jr. and Dwight N. Wetherell served as Assistant Engineers
  • O.H. Ammann, Prof. Charles Derleth, Jr., and Leon S. Moisseiff served on the Advisory Board of Engineers
  • Sydney W. Taylor, Jr. was Consulting Traffic Engineer
  • Irving F. Morrow, Morrow and Morrow Architects, was Consulting Architect
  • Andrew C. Lawson and Allan E. Sedgwick were Consulting Geologists

Although Strauss never officially recognized Ellis for his leadership efforts in the design of the Bridge, the record clearly demonstrates that he deserves significant credit for the suspension bridge design, which we see and cherish today.

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