Photograph by Underwood Archives/Getty Images

The Golden Gate Bridge Turns 75

  1. Open Up Your Golden Gate
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    Open Up Your Golden Gate

    On May 27, San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge will turn 75. A day-long celebration will include a fireworks display (closing the span to cars for a rare hour), exhibitions, and the dedication of a plaque to belatedly honor the bridge's true and unsung designer, Charles Ellis.

    Photograph by Underwood Archives/Getty Images
  2. Opening Day
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    Opening Day

    May 27, 1937: On day one, the only wheels permitted to cross the bridge were attached to roller skates. Some 200,000 pedestrians and skaters crossed. Cars were welcomed the following day. No figure exists for how many people took advantage that day of the new way to drive between San Francisco and Marin County, but in the bridge's first year open, nearly 4 million did.

    Photograph by Redwood Empire Association/AP Photo
  3. Hollywood by the Bay
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    Hollywood by the Bay

    Movies that have featured the imposing span include the 1955 creature feature, It Came From Beneath the Sea; Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo (pictured here); Stanley Kramer's On the Beach; and more recently, the James Bond thriller, A View to a Kill; Planet of the Apes; Hulk; and the animated feature, Monsters vs. Aliens.

    Photograph by Paramount Pictures/Archive Photos/Getty Images
  4. Is it Something About the Fog?
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    Is it Something About the Fog?

    "The Joy Luck Club", "The Maltese Falcon," and "House of Sand and Fog" are a few of the literary works that have been set in San Francisco. But the Bay Area has spawned a huge number of paperback detective stories, thrillers, and mysteries, many of whose covers feature the bridge. (The mostly lurid covers are the subject of a recent exhibit by the University of California, Berkeley's Bancroft Library.)

  5. By Any Other Name
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    By Any Other Name

    Named for the strait that separates San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean, the Golden Gate Bridge is celebrated in song, story, and film. But unlike its hometown—celebrated by such nicknames as "Fog City," "Bahgdad by the Bay," and the much-hated "Frisco"—the bridge suffers from a dearth of endearing nicknames. Maybe a structure so imposing doesn't lend itself to diminutives.

    Photograph by Morton Beebe/Corbis
  6. Performing Without a Net
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    Performing Without a Net

    Safety was an important consideration during the bridge's construction. A safety net suspended under the span is credited with saving the lives of 19 workers who fell into it. However, 10 workers lost their lives when a section of scaffolding fell and tore through the net. Two men survived that accident. Because the bridge attracts some who wish to commit suicide, the Golden Gate Bridge District recently approved a $4 million engineering study to look into a new type of net to thwart suicides.

    Photograph by Eric Risberg/AP Photo
  7. International Orange
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    International Orange

    Painting is the foremost aspect of the Golden Gate Bridge's maintenance. Contrary to popular belief, the bridge is not painted continuously from end to end. Constant touch-ups are required.

    © Roger Ressmeyer/CORBIS
  8. Shake, Rattle, and Roll
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    Shake, Rattle, and Roll

    The bridge's lowest-traffic period was the day of the 1982 earthquake, while its highest traffic was recorded on Oct. 17, 1989, the day of the Loma Prieta earthquake, when the span withstood a temblor that measured 6.9 on the Richter Scale. Extra ferries were added to handle the overflow traffic.

    Photograph by Mark E. Gibson/Corbis
  9. Photogenic
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    Photogenic

    Supposedly the world's most-photographed structure, the bridge appear in countless family photos, as well as more formal shots like the one being taken here.

    Photograph by Larry Steagall/The Kitsap Sun/AP Photo