Celebrating the Golden Gate Bridge

Organizers of the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge hope that the celebration won't be nearly as successful as the 50th.

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." 

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