21 Breathtaking Images Of The Golden Gate Bridge

Published January 4, 2016
Updated January 25, 2018

It’s been 82 years since the iconic Golden Gate Bridge went from a pile of highly-contested parts in San Francisco to the subject of paintings and poems. Learn all about the bay-spanning landmark, and enjoy these beautiful Golden Gate Bridge photos that display the beauty of the famous structure:

Golden Gate Bridge Photos Beach
The Golden Gate Bridge project was first proposed in 1872, out of a desire to make it easier to enter San Francisco. The first serious consideration of the project didn’t come until 1919, after San Francisco city engineer Michael O’Shaughnessy conducted a feasibility study.Wikipedia

Golden Gate Bridge Photos Night
In 1920, O'Shaughnessy submitted his original design for the bridge. That design, however, was quickly abandoned after some bad publicity. The press got hold of the Irish engineer's plans, and dismissed them, with one writer going as far as to call the original design “a ponderous, blunt bridge that...seemed to strain its way across the Golden Gate.” O’Shaughnessy did not attempt another design. Wikipedia

Golden Gate Bridge Facts Aerial
Joseph Strauss submitted his own design in 1922, but again, the press lambasted it. After Strauss’ failed attempt, engineer Charles Ellis worked out the technical details of the design we know today. However, his obsessive eye for detail got him fired by Strauss, his superior, who thought Ellis was simply wasting time.Flickr

Golden Gate Bridge Haze
Thus Strauss — who at 5''3 seemed to have a bit of a Napoleon Complex — was credited chief engineer of the Golden Gate Bridge.Wikipedia

Golden Gate Bridge Facts Misty
Ego wasn't the only problem the bridge faced early on. Today's beloved landmark was not a popular idea at first, and by 1930 more than 2,300 lawsuits had been filed against its proposed construction. Snapwire

Golden Gate Bridge Afternoon
Among the plaintiffs were Ansel Adams and the Sierra Club, who feared the bridge would ruin the natural beauty of the bay area. Flickr

Golden Gate Bridge Facts Black White
The federal government was equally unimpressed with the bridge, and refused to issue funds to build it. Locals in favor of the project passed a bond measure in which they put up deeds to their own homes and farms as collateral. Flickr

Golden Gate Bridge Photos
Official ribbon cutter Franklin D. Roosevelt did not even attend the ceremony in person; instead he "cut the ribbon" via telegraph. Flickr

Golden Gate Bridge Facts Sailing
However unpopular, the plans came as a matter of necessity: At the beginning of its construction, there were no other bridges into San Francisco. All travel had to be conducted by ferry.Flickr

Golden Gate Bridge Photos Purple
Despite its shaky start, the $35 million bridge had an impressive safety record during construction—for the time, at least. 11 people died during the work, with 10 of these deaths occurring on a single day, February 17, 1937. On that day, a platform broke loose from the bridge, falling through the safety netting. Wikipedia

Golden Gate Bridge Facts Shoreline
During the bridge's construction, morning workers were given free sauerkraut juice as a hangover remedy to help calm the effects of their off-duty antics, and ensure they were more productive during the work day.Wikipedia

Golden Gate Bridge Night
Upon completion of construction, it came time to decide the bridge's color. The burnt orange we know today was not intended to be permanent; even the final color selection was only supposed to be temporary. Wikipedia

Golden Gate Bridge Facts Dense Fog
The reddish-orange shade was actually the color of the anticorrosive primer used to protect the bridge from natural elements. It became permanent when consulting architect Irving Morrow preferred it to any other considered color such as carbon black or steel grey. Wikimedia Commons

Golden Gate Bridge Photos Foggy
Morrow noted that not only was the rust-color visible in the bay’s dense fog, it also complemented the surrounding landscapes better than the alternatives.Unsplash

Golden Gate Bridge Facts Sunset
However, that color choice came at a cost: the bridge is in a perpetual state of being repainted.Flickr

Golden Gate Bridge Facts Support
On the day of its opening, only pedestrians were allowed on the bridge, with 200,000 crossing on that day. It opened to automobile traffic on the second day, with 32,000 vehicles crossing. Pixabay

Golden Gate Bridge Photos Twilight
The Golden Gate Bridge is a toll bridge, but tolls are only collected on vehicles headed south bound into San Francisco. Pixabay

Golden Gate Bridge Facts Vanishing
Since its opening, the Golden Gate Bridge has only been closed due to weather conditions on three occasions, all of which were because of high winds. Unsplash

Golden Gate Bridge Facts Skyline
More than two billion people have crossed the bridge since it opened.

Golden Gate Bridge Facts Suspension
In 2019, “prevention nets” will be added to the length of the structure so as to decrease the number of annual fatalities.Wikimedia Commons

Liked this? See vintage shots from the golden age of air travel, or take a glimpse at the Brooklyn Bridge in 1905.

Erin Kelly
An All That's Interesting writer since 2013, Erin Kelly focuses on historic places, natural wonders, environmental issues, and the world of science. Her work has also been featured in Smithsonian and she's designed several book covers in her career as a graphic artist.
Savannah Cox
Savannah Cox holds a Master's in International Affairs from The New School as well as a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and now serves as an Assistant Professor at the University of Sheffield. Her work as a writer has also appeared on DNAinfo.
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Kelly, Erin. "21 Breathtaking Images Of The Golden Gate Bridge." AllThatsInteresting.com, January 4, 2016, https://allthatsinteresting.com/golden-gate-bridge-photos. Accessed May 18, 2024.