<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - The Golden Gate Bridge's 75th Anniversary]]>Copyright 2018https://www.nbcbayarea.com/feature/the-golden-gate-bridgehttp://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.pngNBC Bay Areahttps://www.nbcbayarea.comen-usThu, 18 Jan 2018 10:11:17 -0800Thu, 18 Jan 2018 10:11:17 -0800NBC Owned Television Stations<![CDATA[Photos of the Golden Gate Bridge via Instagram]]>Fri, 27 May 2016 12:46:13 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/lucsteven.jpgPictures of the Golden Gate Bridge submitted by our viewers via Instagram. Use the hashtag #ggb to submit your photos of the Golden Gate Bridge via Instagram.

Photo Credit: lucsteven/Instagram]]>
<![CDATA[Golden Gate reunion]]>Wed, 30 May 2012 13:15:13 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/N6PGOLDENGATEREUNIONSVok_6563358_722x406_21197669.jpgElderly residents share memories, feelings and photos of the Golden Gate Bridge 75 years ago.]]><![CDATA[Building GGB May Not be Possible Today]]>Mon, 28 May 2012 20:48:41 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/golden_gate_bridge_yellow.jpg

An enormously expensive, environment-destroying, traffic-encouraging landscape changer, needing funding from taxpayers from here to Oregon.

Fat chance, right? That's our Golden Gate Bridge, which survived political muscle and financial doomsaying to enjoy landmark status and worldwide recognition as the area's most enduring landmark. But could lightning strike twice -- could our beloved 75-year old bridge be built today?

Maybe not. It took quite a bit to get the job done back in the 1930s, according to the Marin Independent Journal.

Forces no less influential than the Department of War, the Southern Pacific Railroad, and Marin property owners, all lobbied against the bridge, the newspaper reported. And to get it built in the first place -- for the cost of $27 million, or $1.5 billion in today's dollars -- voters from Del Norte county south to San Francisco county had to be convinced to approve bond sales to do it, the newspaper reported.

Getting a new Bay Bridge built was onerous enough: what was supposed to take seven years and $1 billion has now stretched to almost 20 years and over $6.3 billion, the newspaper noted, with political wrangling and intrigue over the structure's stability to boot. And all that was over a bridge deemed seismically unsafe. What about a brand new structure?

"Critics would call it a viewshed-wrecking, growth-inducing, auto-centric, environmentally disastrous, blatantly illegal, greedy, bad idea," said Marin County Supervisor Steve Kinsey, the newspaper reported. Companies would also be falling all over each other -- and political leaders -- to help out, he added.

"Disney would be lobbying Congress to let them build it within a theme park," he told the newspaper. "Tribes would be offering to finance it in return for just one casino at Fort Point. Every hip corporation would be making a pitch to do it in the shape of their logo."

But there's one positive. Workers safety.

Said Kinsey: "One thing you can say is if the Golden Gate were built today fewer people would die doing it."

<![CDATA[Fireworks Cascade Off Golden Gate Bridge]]>Tue, 29 May 2012 06:41:15 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/golden_gate_bridge_75_fireworks_02.jpgIn honor of the Golden Gate Bridge's 75th birthday, the public was treated to an awesome 20-minute fireworks display. The opening act, of a lighted waterfall, wowed the crowd.

Photo Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[People dangle feet in Bay at Crissy Field]]>Sun, 27 May 2012 20:12:35 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/feetdanglingweb_6567818_722x406_20818235.jpgPeople dangle their feet in the Bay at Crissy Field on the Golden Gate Bridge's 75th anniversary.]]><![CDATA[USS Nimitz Arrives in the San Francisco Bay]]>Tue, 29 May 2012 06:34:51 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/usshornetweb_6567511_722x406_20815433.jpgThe aircraft carrier USS Nimitz passed under the Golden Gate Bridge Sunday afternoon with sailors saluting the bridge's 75th birthday anniversary.]]><![CDATA[Crissy Field on the 75th GGB Birthday]]>Sun, 27 May 2012 16:19:44 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/afternoonbridgeweb_6567356_722x406_20813832.jpgHere's what Crissy Field looked like Sunday afternoon at the 75th anniversary celebration of the Golden Gate Bridge.]]><![CDATA[Rows of shoes to represent suicides off GGB]]>Sun, 27 May 2012 16:19:58 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/suicideshoeweb_6567357_722x406_20815205.jpgA group called the Bridge Rail Foundation, which is dedicated to stopping those suicides, erected a display of 1,558 pairs of shoes, representing the number of people who have died by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge since it opened.]]><![CDATA[Parents married on the Golden Gate Bridge]]>Sun, 27 May 2012 16:05:02 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/parentsmarry_6564624_722x406_20811403.jpgThe parents of Rebecca Ellessen, Ann McIntosh and Betty Meroshnekoff were married on the Golden Gate Bridge.]]><![CDATA[Family is "invested" in the Golden Gate Bridge]]>Sun, 27 May 2012 14:03:08 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/investfamily_6564627_722x406_20811419.jpgThe family of Rebecca Ellessen, Ann McIntosh and Betty Meroshnekoff said relatives helped build the bridge and they are "invested" in it.]]><![CDATA[Fireworks Rock GGB's 75th Birthday]]>Tue, 29 May 2012 07:36:56 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/golden_gate_bridge_75_fireworks.jpg

Visitors from all over came to say "Happy Birthday" in person to the  Golden Gate Bridge Sunday, the day the iconic bridge turned 75 years old.

When the sun started setting, the crowd began to gather at the base of the lighted bridge to watch a spectacular fireworks show at 9:30 p.m., streamed live on NBC Bay Area's website. Highlights ran on NBC Bay Area television at 11 p.m.

The crowd favorite was the opening firework: of a lighted waterfall cascading over the bridge.

The 20-minute colorful display followed the gay  atmosphere of the day: fun, but not too crowded.

 In the late afternoon, Golden Gate bridge spokeswoman Mary Currie said the crowds were "moderate," with lots of people biking and walking along the entire waterfront from Fort Point to Marina Green, and even beyond, all the way to Pier 39. There were no traffic nightmares to report, she said, as most heeded the warnings about parking and transportation beforehand.

Here's what Crissy Field looked like Sunday afternoon.


 Some wanted to dangle their feet in the cold bay, enjoying great views of the bridge.

 Countless photographers stopped by the Golden Gate Bridge area, too, memorializing the day with their unusual images. Here's a photo taken by @yoshio90 on Twitter. It's a shot taken directly under the bridge.

Matt Kiolbassa, fire marshal at the Presidio of San Francisco, tweeted this photograph of Crissy Field on Sunday. The crowds didn't look too bad.

 Here's what some people told NBC Bay Area about how they were celebrating the day's activities, and what the bridge meant to them personally:

Rebecca Ellessen, Ann McIntosh and Betty Meroshnekoff said their parents married on the Golden Gate Bridge 75 years ago, on June 1 at midnight.


The women also said some of their relatives helped build the bridge, and they have a lot "invested" in the structure.

During the afternoon, the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier passed underneath the bridge, the sailors onboard saluted in honor of the 75th birthday.

Bob and Tuty Lockhart, who are originally from the East Coast, said they planned to spend the whole day enjoying bridge activities, and would stop home for a nap before the fireworks.

Christie Clover said she has lived in the Bay Area all of her life, and the bridge is her "landmark, her home."


David Clover added that he tries to start off the new year with a walk on the Golden Gate Bridge.


Steven Miller, a worker with the Golden Gate Bridge District, shows off one of the first cars ever to roll across the bridge 75 years ago.



 Since the bridge opened in 1937, more than two billion vehicles have crossed the 1.7-mile-long bridge named after the Golden Gate Strait, the entrance to the San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean. Despite its majestic beauty, the bridge has also become a popular place to commit suicide. A group called the Bridge Rail Foundation, which is dedicated to stopping those suicides, erected a display of 1,558 pairs of shoes, representing the number of people who have died by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge since it opened.



Happy Birthday GGB!

See all of NBC Bay Area's coverage on the Golden Gate Bridge's 75th anniversary by clicking here.

Contact Lisa Fernandez at 408-432-4758 or lisa.fernandez@nbcuni.com. Follow her at Twitter.com/ljfernandez.

Photo Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[One of the first cars to cross the Golden Gate Bridge]]>Sun, 27 May 2012 13:49:37 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/firstcarweb_6564557_722x406_20811759.jpgSteven Miller, who works for the Golden Gate Bridge District, shows one of the first cars to cross the bridge 75 years ago.]]><![CDATA[GGB Celebrates 75th This Weekend]]>Sat, 26 May 2012 17:09:17 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/golden_gate_bridge_fireworks_02.jpg

Thousands of people are expected to flock to San Francisco's waterfront this weekend to mark the Golden Gate Bridge's 75th anniversary.

Several celebrations are scheduled at the iconic span all weekend including anniversary tours of the bridge and a Golden Gate Festival featuring arts and music on Saturday. The festivities culminate with a fireworks display Sunday night.

The California Highway Patrol is urging attendees to use public transportation due to the heavy volume of traffic expected this weekend.

On Friday, U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee were among the dignitaries to present bridge officials with proclamations honoring the bridge. They later participated in ribbon-cutting ceremonies to usher in new sites on the bridge plaza including a Pavilion welcome center.

Orange -- in the form of hats, scarves, clothing, shoes, earrings, sunglasses, nail polish and even lipstick -- was the color of choice worn by many of the 400 guests attending the Golden Gate Bridge ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Among the crowd was nonagenarian Gus Villalta, of Los Banos, who grew up in San Francisco and worked on the bridge's south tower as a teenager.

The guests of honor also included descendants of the men who built the bridge almost eight decades ago, such as Lucinda Hithcock Cone and Christine Steele Cone, granddaughters of Russell Cone, who supervised construction on the bridge through its completion in 1937.

The 1.7-mile-long Golden Gate Bridge was a structure that people said couldn't be built.

Brown and others spoke of the determination to build such an iconic structure.

Just one year into the Great Depression, in 1930, voters passed a $35 million bond measure to finance the bridge. Although the bridge was constructed in four years and five months, the last of its construction bonds were retired on July 1, 1971. Bridge tolls financed nearly all of the $35 million in principal and approximately $39 million in interest.

The bridge's legacy lives on, Pelosi said, thanks to federal stimulus dollars provided by President Obama as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Some of that money is paying for the new Presidio Parkway, the San Francisco approach to the Golden Gate Bridge, which Pelosi said is "enhancing what this bridge means to us and what it does for us."

All three elected officials -- Lee, Brown and Pelosi -- presented bridge officials with proclamations at the local, state and federal level declaring Friday be observed in the bridge's name.

The event concluded with the official opening of several bridge plaza buildings, some old -- such as the renovated historic Roundhouse -- and some new, such as the Bridge Pavilion Welcome Center.

See all of NBC Bay Area's coverage on the Golden Gate Bridge's 75th anniversary here.

Bay City News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: David Paul Morris/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Preparing for the GGB 75th]]>Fri, 25 May 2012 05:22:54 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/185*120/145235325_8.jpgThe Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District is preparing for the 75th anniversary of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge that will be marked with a festival on May 26 - 27 that will feature music, displays of bridge artifacts and art exhibits. The 1.7 mile steel suspension bridge, one of the modern Wonders of the World, opened to traffic on May 27, 1937.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[The Photog Who Captured the GGB]]>Fri, 25 May 2012 05:12:36 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/photog-GGB.jpg

Every day, oodles of visitors from across the globe snap thousands of images of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Across the waterfronts of two counties, amateur photographers jockey to position loved ones somewhere in the frame along with the famous span.


But back when the bridge was under construction, there wasn’t a girth of photographers waving Iphones and instant cameras. Some of the most memorable images of that time were captured by an amateur photographer, named Ted Huggins. Huggins worked in the marketing wing of Standard Oil of California, the forbearer of San Ramon-based Chevron. The Berkeley native helped organize the groundbreaking for Golden Gate Bridge.


At the ceremony, Huggins realized the Golden Gate Bridge District couldn’t afford to hire a full-time photographer to take publicity shots. So Huggins went to his bosses and suggested he do it.


“He was assigned to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge under construction,” said Huggins

daughter Carol Huggins Trabert.


Huggins spent three and a half years photographing the building of the bridge. He climbed cables, he waded into the Bay, and even took pictures from a blimp. Using infrared film, he logged thousands of photos of the bridge.


“I guess you could call my father an over achiever,” said Trabert. “He was out here night and day taking these pictures.”


Huggins’ pictures not only captured the bridge in various states of assembly, they also showcased workers toiling away.


“They also convey the resilience of the American worker in this region,” said Chevron historian John Harper, “during one of the worst possible economic times the country had faced.”


To capture his images, Huggins placed himself under the same risks as the workers, scaling great heights to capture his subjects. His daughter said his safety gear consisted of a leather helmet and work boots.


The images made their way to company newsletters, newspapers and magazines. His greatest coup was in 1937 as the bridge was about to open. Life Magazine sent a team of crack photographers to take pictures of the bridge. When it came to the cover, the magazine decided on Huggins’ work.


“Ted Huggins was able to beat out a number of other life photographers to capture the prize cover page,” said Harper.


The photographers own family was on hand as the bridge opened in May of 1937 with a public bridge walk. Huggins had suggested the walk after discovering that the Brooklyn Bridge had held one at its opening in 1883.


Huggins’ wife and daughter were among the crowd walking across. “I don’t know if I was in a stroller or what, but people have told me I was the first child to cross,” said Huggins Trabert.


The elder Huggins died in 1989 at the age of 97. Huggins Trabert said he remained busy his entire life. She said he carried a sense of pride that he’d played a part in bringing the bridge to the world.


“He loved the bridge,” she said.


The photos were donated by Standard Oil to the Golden Gate Bridge District, which then donated them to the California Historical Society. The images can be seen and downloaded at www.tedhuggins.com

<![CDATA[Dear GGB: A Fake Letter Between Real Bridges]]>Fri, 25 May 2012 06:09:29 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/177*120/bridge1.jpg

You may have heard, this Memorial Day Weekend there is a huge celebration for the 75th Anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Crissy Field, the Marina and the surrounding areas will be a big source of congestion for San Francisco.

The Golden Gate Bridge itself will be closed Sunday from 9 p.m. to just after 10 p.m. for a grand fireworks show and celebration. Huge spectacle.

As the Traffic Guy, though, another concern is a quieter bridge to the south.

Starting Friday at 10 p.m. the Dumbarton Bridge will be closed for 77 hours, reopening Tuesday at 5 a.m.

This bridge is getting its joints replaced for seismic safety.  No fanfare, just a few signs lit up warning drivers to stay away.

So while we celebrate one bridge for its longevity (the GGB, the flashier one, the one that’s in all of the postcards) and we welcome the world to come and visit, we tell locals (the only ones who have even heard of the Dumbarton Bridge) to shun it.

I imagined what it must be like to be one of the “other” bridges in the Bay Area.

When you’re NOT the Bay Bridge or the Golden Gate Bridge. Here’s what I imagine a correspondence between the two bridges might be regarding this contrast this holiday weekend.
May 24, 2012

Dear Golden Gate Bridge,

You may not remember me, I'm a few months older than both you and your sister, the Bay Bridge. You know my sister the San Mateo Bridge. She's younger, gets more attention from drivers and frankly, you two are a lot closer than you and I have ever been.

We always used to call you GG.  You might remember me as "Dumbarton Bridge" but some claim that's not my real name. Whatever. I know people also call me "the Dumbo" and I try to take it in good spirit. It's cool.

A lot has changed since my birth in January of 1927. I experienced a kind of rebirth in 1982 when I became a new span. You could say I have the body of a 29-year-old. Ha, ha.

I am just writing to let you know I can't make your party this weekend. I'll be closed, getting major joint replacement. Even at just 29, experts were still concerned with the amount of shake in my high rise, if you know what I mean.

We all know I was the first transbay vehicular bridge but there's no denying, YOU were always the crowd fave, GG.

Take it easy and have a great celebration. I'll try to catch a glimpse of your fireworks on Sunday night.

Your friend in toll,

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bird's Eye View Atop Golden Gate Bridge]]>Sun, 27 May 2012 11:32:02 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/N5ACLEANBOBGOLDENGATEBRIDGEPKG_65299981_722x406_18979170.jpgOnly on NBC Bay Area: Bob Redell is the only TV reporter allowed atop the Golden Gate Bridge. He took the elevator up. Watch him as he tours the bridge as a preview for the 75th anniversary celebration scheduled for Sunday.]]><![CDATA[Even More Instagram Photos of GGB75]]>Sun, 27 May 2012 11:25:04 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*160/8d3a96bea12c11e18bb812313804a1817.jpgThe Golden Gate Bridge turns 75 this month and we have your pictures to help celebrate.

Photo Credit: mbmendoza/Instagram]]>
<![CDATA[Giants to Wear GGB Patch Friday]]>Fri, 18 May 2012 10:36:25 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Giants_Friday_Golden_Gate_Bridge_Patch_Uniforms.jpg

May 27th is the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge. To commemorate the monument's birthday, the San Francisco Giants will wear special patches against the Oakland Athletics on Friday night.

Now, there's plenty of fascinating stuff surrounding the Golden Gate anniversary. If you haven't already checked it out over at NBC Bay Area's specially-dedicated GG section, you absolutely should do so now.

But this is a rare chance to actually end up owning some of the action too, as the Giants, who are selling game-worn and game-used memorabilia all season long, will be selling some of the patch-covered game-worn jerseys.

"The team will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge by wearing a patch on their uniforms on Friday, May 18th when the Giants celebrate International Orange Friday," the Giants said in a press release. "These game used jerseys will be available for sale after the game in the store with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Kids to the Bridge program."

The patch itself is pretty cool too:

And yes, it's fitting that the Giants are the ones repping the Bay Bridge and doing it so while playing the A's.

Photo Credit: @SFGiants]]>
<![CDATA[Stories From the Bridge, Segment 1]]>Sat, 26 May 2012 21:32:11 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/164*120/ABOVEBRIDGE.jpgStories From the Bridge, segment 1]]><![CDATA[Stories From the Bridge, Segment 2]]>Fri, 25 May 2012 07:46:57 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/235*120/BEACHBRIDGE.jpgStories From the Bridge, Segment 2]]><![CDATA[Stories From the Bridge, Segment 3]]>Fri, 25 May 2012 07:47:37 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/164*120/BRIDGECONST.jpgStories From the Bridge, Segment 3]]><![CDATA[Stories From the Bridge, Segment 4]]>Fri, 25 May 2012 07:48:08 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/217*120/SUNRISEGGB2012.jpgStories from the Bridge, Segment 4]]><![CDATA[More Instagram Images of GGB75]]>Tue, 15 May 2012 16:15:38 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*160/fa5c68ee9ea211e180c91231380162657.jpgSubmitted Instagram images of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Photo Credit: bayareadiscoverymuseum/Instagram]]>
<![CDATA[Play Tourist on the Golden Gate Bridge]]>Sun, 13 May 2012 15:54:27 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/177*120/bridge1.jpg

There is a new option for locals to play tourist in San Francisco.

For the first time ever,the Golden Gate Bridge District is offering guided tours of the Golden Gate Bridge.

You can walk alongside people from around the world as they learn about the history of the second most recognized structure on the planet. (Second only to the Eiffel Tower).

The hour-long tour is part of the bridge's 75th anniversary celebration.

The Golden Gate Bridge District is offering both day and night tours. The day tours run hourly and cost $12.95. The night tour starts at 8:15 p.m. and costs $21.95. The benefit of the night tour is a sunset over the water as you wait for things to begin, PLUS you are the only ones allowed on the bridge at night (so you have the place to yourself).

The tour pitch  goes like this: "Hear fascinating stories of danger, challenge, and ingenuity about the building of the Bridge on personally guided walking tours."

You can get tickets at this url. 

Because of the bridge noise and wind, the guide uses a microphone and everyone in the tour is given a head set so they can hear what is said.

You will be able to tell the locals from the tourist by the clothing option. The tourists will likely be in shorts while the natives will be the ones with scarves and gloves.

The tour also has an add on option that is pretty cool. There is a chroma-key wall set up at the Round House where you can don a hard hat and vest and pretend you are climbing the bridge. 

Two 5x7 photos will cost you $20.  Our own morning crew of Christie Smith and Steve Wheelock posed for the photos to the right and below.  

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[96-Year-Old GGB Worker: I'm Not Dead Yet]]>Sun, 27 May 2012 11:30:04 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/832157823.jpg

When 95-year-old Jack Balestreri died toward the end of April, The Golden Gate Bridge District declared he had most likely been the last remaining worker to help build the famous span.

When the news drifted to the Central Valley town of Los Banos, 96-year-old Gustavo Villalta turned to his daughter with a bit of bemusement. “He had said to me,” recalled daughter Mary Villalta Brooks, “well I’m not dead.”

True. Gustavo Villalta was very much alive. Indeed, the retired television repairman had his own mini-tale of toiling on the bridge in the mid-1930s.

In 1935, Villalta was a student at San Francisco’s Galileo High School. The Depression had the country in its clutches and Villalta badly wanted cash to go to clubs and hear the orchestras he loved.

One day, as he sat in his class at school, opportunity walked through the door.

“A contractor came around and said they needed a bunch of guys to come over work on some stuff,” Villalta said. The “stuff” turned out to be a job working on the Golden Gate Bridge.

Villalta and a dozen other students bundled up in several layers of coats and turned up at the bridge for work. “He took us to the bridge and to the first tower and there they told us we had to help pulling wire,” Villalta said.

Villalta said the bridge was only just beginning to resemble a bridge. The main cable stretched across the Golden Gate Strait, but the platform was still in its infancy.

By no means was the job glamorous. For three weeks, he earned 75 cents an hour pulling wires for electrical crews installing lights on the first tower. When that was done, he picked up scraps and cleaned-up.

“It was always foggy, recalled Villalta. “I wouldn’t say it was too windy but it was foggy and miserable,” Villalta said at the time.

He never grasped the historical context of the new bridge. He knew it meant he would no longer have to travel through Oakland to get to the dance club he liked in Larkspur. Beyond that, he was far more excited about the creation of Treasure Island which would soon host the World’s Fair.

Even more exciting was the paycheck he got at the end of three weeks.

“All we were thinking about was the money,” he said. “And at that time, 1935 was a critical time for a young boy 16 or 18 years old.” 

There were 10 major contractors who worked on the bridge, according to bridge district spokeswoman Mary Currie. Beneath them were dozens of sub-contractors and hundreds of workers.

Work records were scant at the time, and because Social Security wasn’t around yet, there are no lasting records of those employed on the bridge. “That history is all lost,” said Currie.

Villalta’s eyes fill with fire as he leans forward in his chair, wondering aloud why records weren’t kept – why the contributions of so many faded into the churning currents swirling beneath the famous icon.

“He honestly thinks that there’s more people in his position that have worked on the bridge that have just gone undiscovered,” said daughter Villalta Brooks with a grin. Currie said as far as she knows, Villalta is the last living bridge worker, unless someone else comes forward.

For his small part, Villalta (at rightk, center) downplays his role in building the bridge. He reacted with embarrassment and shock when an NBC crew showed up to interview him at his assisted-living facility in Los Banos.

He shuddered with horror when it was suggested he had played a role in the bridge’s history. He hardly had anything to do with it, he insisted.

But Villalta lit up as he rattled off the joints he and his friends would prowl as a young men growing up in San Francisco – Sweet’s Ballroom; The Fox Theater; the Treasure Island World’s Fair.

And a knowing smile crept across his face when asked if he remembered how he spent his paycheck for his bridge work. “I spent it on girls,” he said. “What else can you spend it on?”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[GGB: An American Icon Turns 75 (Part 1)]]>Fri, 27 Apr 2012 12:20:19 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GGBICON_SEG1_722x406_2227961955.jpgDoug McConnell tells the multifaceted story of the bridge -- and the people who have very personal stories about the span. History, engineering, even mid-span births are all explored in this special program. (Part 1 of 4)]]><![CDATA[GGB: An American Icon Turns 75 (Part 2)]]>Fri, 27 Apr 2012 12:21:31 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/REVGGBICON_SEG2_722x406_2227964381.jpgOn Jan. 5, 1933, ground was broken on the Golden Gate Bridge. All eyes were on the progress -- and on the workers perched between the sea and the sky as they built the span. Eleven men died during construction.]]><![CDATA[GGB: An American Icon Turns 75 (Part 3)]]>Tue, 24 Apr 2012 11:39:04 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GGBICON_SEG3_722x406_2225939957.jpgWhen the Golden Gate Bridge opened, the span was open for people to walk across -- the first Pedestrian Day. Doug McConnell talks with some people who took that walk 75 years ago.]]><![CDATA[GGB: An American Icon Turns 75 (Part 4)]]>Wed, 25 Apr 2012 13:48:07 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GGBICON_SEG41_722x406_2227118870.jpgThe Golden Gate Bridge turns 75. ]]><![CDATA[GGB: Work of Art & Work of Engineering]]>Fri, 08 Dec 2017 10:36:25 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/NATIONALTREASURE_722x406_2213378287.jpgA statement of urbanism and civility the Golden Gate Bridge brings together life in the city with the wild hills of Marin.In many ways it's a statement about all of California.]]><![CDATA[GGB Was Almost Painted Like a Stryper Album]]>Mon, 23 Apr 2012 18:36:43 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/81032140.jpg

Imagine the Golden Gate Bridge in various shades of orange or even painted with a black and yellow color scheme? Although pretty outlandish, they’re examples of the bridge’s deep mythology that are actually true.

While many first-time visitors still expect to see a giant golden bridge, despite all the easily Google able photos to the contrary, it is of course a custom shade of vermilion called International Orange.

But for the crews who paint the bridge, the golden question still arises often.

“It’s not gold and it’s named that because of the Golden Gate Straits actually coming into the bay.”

There are other facts, bridge painters are often called-on to rectify, like the assumption the bridge is repainted every year.

“The myth is you start at one end and go to the other end,” said Dellarocca who’s worked for the bridge district 28 years. “I always say you start at one end and you retire when you get to the other end.”

  There are some rather odd historical tidbits from the soon-to-be 75-year-old bridge that are indeed true; The Navy envisioned an entirely different color scheme to increase the bridge’s visibility for ships and planes. 

“If the Navy had had their way, they wanted to see it striped yellow and black,” said bridge spokeswoman Mary Currie. “So it would’ve been a big bumble bee I guess.”

Even the bridge’s famed architect Irving Morrow had originally envisioned a slightly different color palette. 

“His original vision actually was to see the different components of the bridge painted in a slightly different hue,” said Currie.

It was Morrow that ultimately chose the bridge’s color after seeing steel pieces arriving from Pennsylvania Steel in a red primer color. As the bridge was assembled, Morrow saw how the color seemed to contrast nicely with the nearby hills and the bay. 

But for thousands of tourists who visit the stately icon each year, there is still surprise that the bridge isn’t the shade of a gold bar. Karen Kerth, originally of Arizona, remembers when her parents first brought her to the bridge as a child.

“When they drove us across I was really upset because I thought it was going to be gold,” said Kerth, now all grown-up and living in San Jose. “I was mad at them because I thought was tricked.”

Today, it’s Kerth’s duty to school her guests on the reality of the bridge’s true color.

“When we bring people from other countries that are visiting us, we have to explain to them that it’s really not gold,” said Kerth. “It’s an orange bridge.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Party Planning GGB Style]]>Tue, 27 Mar 2012 12:34:02 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/177*120/bridge1.jpgSee how the Golden Gate Bridge will celebrate a milestone birthday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sisters Recall Bridge]]>Sun, 27 May 2012 16:23:26 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GGB75NKDANIELSON_722x406_2198256293.jpgDoug McConnell talks with Nancy Kent Danielson about her time on the bridge on opening day, alongside her twin sister.]]><![CDATA[Babies Who Were Born on the Golden Gate Bridge]]>Sun, 27 May 2012 11:32:31 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/BRIDGEBABIES_722x406_2212233249.jpgDoug McConnell talks with several people who were born on the Golden Gate Bridge, en route to the hospital.]]><![CDATA[A Reunion of People Who Walked GGB 75 Years Ago]]>Tue, 27 Mar 2012 12:35:14 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/REUNION_722x406_2212288004.jpgDoug McConnell talks with individuals who walked the bridge on its inaugural day, May 27, 1937.]]><![CDATA[Original Bridge Worker Tells Tales of Golden Gate]]>Tue, 27 Mar 2012 06:58:37 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/CHARLIEHEINBOCKEL_722x406_2215868596.jpgSan Francisco native Charlie Heinbockel recalls working on the bridge, tamping down tons of concrete -- and realizing how 'unbelievable' the Golden Gate Bridge really is.]]><![CDATA[Images of the Golden Gate Bridge]]>Sun, 27 May 2012 14:05:02 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/179*120/71370039_8.jpgA collection of images of San Francisco's famed Golden Gate Bridge.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Countdown to Happy 75 Begins]]>Thu, 29 Mar 2012 11:42:54 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/76259478_8.jpg

Exactly one year out, officials unveiled their plans to throw the Golden Gate  Bridge a 75th anniversary celebration befitting an icon of the  septuagenarian's stature.

The extended fete will be anchored by a two-day festival over  Memorial Day weekend in 2012. A new visitors' pavilion will be built in the  current parking lot, and renovations will be made to the existing facilities  at one of the world's most recognizable 1.2-mile stretch of road.

The last time this much was made of the bridge was 24 years ago for its 50th anniversary. Back then a record number of people turned out to walk on the bridge, and for a time there was a concern the weight of all that love could damage the structure. In the end, the bridge lowered several feet just like the designers said it would.

Two new vantage points will also be added to the San Francisco  waterfront, and 75 community partners will be chosen to pay tribute to the  bridge in unique and creative ways.

The Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy Friday presented the  proposal, which was approved unanimously by the Golden Gate Bridge Highway  and Transportation District board of directors. The Presidio Trust and  National Park Service are also collaborating on the events.

"I'm thrilled the ideas were embraced," conservancy executive  director Greg Moore said. "I think the board can see that collectively we can  improve the bridge experience for visitors."

San Francisco Giants president Larry Baer and philanthropist Nancy  Bechtle are chairing the 75th anniversary committee, which launched a new  website today, the bridge's 74th birthday.

Baer, a fourth-generation San Franciscan, said he has loved the  bridge ever since he was a kid growing up in the Richmond District.

"You come home -- like after one of your key players gets injured  -- and find solace with the bridge," he said, referring to catcher Buster  Posey's potentially season-ending leg fracture during a game on Wednesday.

The Giants have already signed on to be among the 75 community  partners devising creative ways to honor the bridge.

The Marin Symphony is also commissioning and performing a piece  for the bridge, Moore said, and the anniversary committee is soliciting  proposals for other projects until June 20.

Most of the tributes will take place between April and October of  2012.

On May 26-27, 2012, a two-day festival will be centered on the  city's waterfront to evoke the bridge's historic opening fiesta, which was  held at Crissy Field in 1937.

The entire project is estimated to cost about $5 million for  physical improvements and $3 million for the anniversary program, Moore said.  The bridge will remain open to traffic throughout the celebration.

Funding will be provided by corporate and media sponsors, the  parks conservancy, and philanthropic foundations, two of which have already  pledged donations to the overlook projects, he said.

The construction and renovation should be done in time for the  America's Cup sailing events in 2012 and 2013.

"It's going to be a wonderful time," bridge district board  president Janet Reilly said.

More information about the anniversary is available at  http://goldengatebridge75.org.

Bay City News

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Commemorative Bridge Bricks to be Demolished]]>Tue, 20 Mar 2012 09:48:19 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/straussstatue2_000.JPG

A bevy of Golden Gate Bridge lovers paid for commemorative bricks 25 years ago for the bridge's 50th anniversary. By the 75th anniversary, those bricks will be turned into commemorative dust.

The 7,500 bricks bought for various price points -- $32 and up to have your name inscribed on bricks on the San Francisco side of the bridge -- will be destroyed in order to make way for progress: in this case: disability access and room to work on the bridge in preparation for the bridge's 75th birthday coming this May, according to the Marin Independent Journal.

The bricks were sold in the 1980s in order to raise money for the 50th anniversary party. Some citizens used them to memorialize a loved one.

All will be removed beginning this week. In its place will be a new walkway and cafe.

The bridge district will also install a plaque with all 7,500 original inscriptions, a spokeswoman said. Workers did try to remove each of the bricks but could not; "They just crumble," a spokeswoman said.

<![CDATA[Golden Gate's 75th Has a Party Planner]]>Tue, 20 Mar 2012 08:55:16 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/ggbridge1.jpg

The Golden Gate Bridge has been repping the San Francisco Bay Area on postcards, t-shirts and corporate logos for nigh-on 74 years -- and 2012's 75th anniversary is going to mean even more.

The G.G. bridge district supervisors have partnered with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and the National Park Service to plan a soiree fitting of the iconic engineering marvel -- replete with a new pavilion and visitor experience.

A linchpin of the celebration is an entirely updated area surrounding the existing toll plaza, according to SFGate.com. In early 2012, the roundhouse will be transformed into "a forum for public events, possibly including educational tours, a 75th-anniversary pavilion..."

The year-long celebration gets underway during the Marin County Fair, June 30-July 4 of this year, according to MercuryNews.com.

All programs must be self-funded, officials agreed.

Photo Credit: Jason Montiel]]>
<![CDATA[Golden Gate Bridge Plans Epic Party]]>Tue, 20 Mar 2012 09:49:39 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/vistapoint_view.JPG

Ain't no party like a Golden Gate Bridge party.

The iconic span is going to host an appropriately epic two-day bender of a bridge party, as the Golden Gate celebrates its 75th anniversary over Memorial Day weekend, according to the San Francisco Examiner.

From Fort Point near the bridge's base to Pier 39 all the way down on the wharf, there's going to be parades, music and dance, art, and even a classic car convocation of automobiles constructed in 1937, the same year the bridge went up, according to the newspaper.

Wonder which held up better?

It all goes down on Saturday, May 26, until the concluding fireworks celerbation at 9:30 p.m. Sunday, May 27.

<![CDATA[Celebrating the Golden Gate Bridge]]>Tue, 20 Mar 2012 09:50:08 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/ftpoint.JPG

The structure that in an instant symbolizes San Francisco is celebrating a milestone birthday this year. We're talking about the Golden Gate Bridge.

It was May 29, 1937 when travelers were first able to make the trip from Marin to the City of San Francisco in a car instead of on a boat; and in a matter of minutes instead of hours.

Now, decades later the most iconic bridge in the country marks three-quarters of a century of service.

Lots of celebrations will take place from now through the end of May with the blow out party coming on May 27, 2012. Details of all events are scheduled to be announced Monday morning on the bridge. Early reports show the party will be similar to the "Golden Gate Bridge Fiesta" back in the 1930s.

One of the party planners is Giants CEO Larry Baer. Baer's party credentials include a parade down Market Street for a million Giants fans. The May birthday bash won't quite be that large, but at least that many people will be invited.

Rewind 25 years and the 50 year Golden Gate Bridge anniversary celebration (to the shock of organizers) had nearly that many show up. 

Fewer than 100,000 people were expected to take advantage of a two hour window where the bridge would be closed to traffic and open to walkers. Instead an estimated 800,000 people showed up. The bridge reportedly bowed ten feet and its cables were "as tight as a harp."  

The walk was supposed to commemorate the original opening on May 27, 1937, when 200,000 or so people took a stroll across the span. Many brought along a picnic and stopped mid-span for a bite.

Many still talk about that day as a "near disaster." 

<![CDATA[Golden Gate Birthday Party Planned]]>Tue, 20 Mar 2012 08:56:04 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/ggb1.JPG

A seventy-fifth birthday is a big deal for anyone – let alone a world famous icon. This May marks the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge and of course the Bay Area rarely passes on a reason to party.

But first, a note of what the celebrations won’t include -- a bridge walk. You may recall when the bridge turned 50, officials closed it down to traffic and let the public walk across. So many people jammed the structure that the bridge famously flattened out.

“That many people weigh more than cars because they’re packed in there,” said Dennis Mulligan, Golden Gate Bridge District General Manager. “That’s not something we’re looking forward to replicate.”

What they do plan to replicate is the opening day festival held on Crissy Field when the bridge opened in 1937. The anniversary of the 75th falls on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, which lends itself perfectly for the occasion.

Bridge planners say the two-day Golden Gate Festival will extend along San Francisco’s waterfront and include a boat parade, music and a firework display on Sunday night. Interpretive displays will be set-up at Crissy Field for the event.

On top of that, 75 non-profits will create public programs that will be presented throughout the year in museums, schools and cultural centers.  The Marin Symphony is composing an opus in honor of the famous span.

“What we’re doing with this celebration and beyond that is to provide better exhibits and information,” said Golden Gate National Recreation Area Superintendent Frank Dean, “to tell the story about this historic building and structure.

At least some of the anniversary plans will last longer than the parties. The bridge district is constructing a 3,500 square-foot pavilion at the Southern end of the bridge to welcome visitors. About 30 parking places were sacrificed for the new permanent structure.

But any trade-offs are well worth the trouble, planners say, in order to properly honor one of the world’s most recognizable icons, emblazoned on trinkets and postcards sent around the globe.

“There is something that is indescribable about this bridge,” said Janet Reilly, president of the GG Board of Directors.  “That makes it feel special in the hearts of people around the world.”

NBC Bay Area is a proud sponsor of the 75th Anniversary Celebration.

Photo Credit: Joe Rosato Jr.]]>
<![CDATA[Golden Gate Bridge Celebrates 75th in 2012]]>Sun, 27 May 2012 16:21:39 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/golden+gate+bridge+black+and+white.JPGThis year's Memorial Day weekend will have a high-profile, memory-making event: the Golden Gate Bridge will celebrate its 75th anniversary. NBC Bay Area is a proud media sponsor in the event.

Photo Credit: Joe Rosato Jr.]]>