The Golden Gate Bridge is a structure of striking form and elegance. Built in 1937, it remains an indispensable link in the Bay Area's transportation network and a historical monument of civil engineering and construction. The bridge was named for the Golden Gate Strait, where the mouth of the San Francisco Bay meets the Pacific Ocean. References to the area as the Golden Gate exits before gold rush began and before the idea of a bridge was conceived. The Bay's poppy and bunch-grass covered hills and dramatic golden light are an enduring source of inspiration.
The dream of spanning the Golden Gate was expressed as early as the 1850's. Michael O'Shaughessy, City Engineer of San Francisco and engineer for San Francisco's Hetch Hetchy water system, was the first to seriously consider and champion construction of the bridge. He proposed the idea to Joseph B. Strauss in 1915, who was to become the Chief Engineer for the Golden Gate Bridge, and the bridge's foremost proponent. The design of the bridge was realized through the expertise of the engineers, Charles Ellis, Charles Derleth, Leon Moisseiff, and O.H. Amman, and the architect, Irving F. Morrow.
Morrow is responsible for the aesthetic details of the bridge, including its International Orange color. He felt this contrasting color would complement the bay's cool gray
and blue skies, enhancing the dramatic scale and setting of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Over four years, countless laborers worked to transform drawings into structure. The bridgemen, as they were known, stoically managed extreme heights and massive materials to complete one of the world's most beloved suspension bridges.