San Francisco’s Iconic Golden Gate Bridge Turns 80

Happy birthday, Golden Gate Bridge!

The iconic International Orange bridge was erected 80 years ago, spanning the narrow Golden Gate Strait – from which it took its name – between the San Francisco Bay and Pacific Ocean. 

Pedestrians first set foot on the bridge on May 27, 1937, and cars rumbled over it the next day. To that end, officials invited people to sing "Happy Birthday" to the Golden Gate Bridge at 12 p.m. Saturday.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Saturday tweeted birthday wishes to the Golden Gate Bridge.

The Golden Gate Bridge was built over four years. Upon its completion, it made headlines for being the world's longest suspension bridge – at 4,200 feet, according to its website. New York City's Verrazano-Narrows Bridge usurped that title in November 1964.

Both have since been overtaken by bridges in Japan, China, Denmark and other countries, and the Golden Gate Bridge now ranks ninth on the list of the world’s longest suspension bridges.

The Golden Gate Bridge connects San Francisco to Marin County. Before it was built, the only way across the bay was by ferry.

Today the famous structure symbolizes not only the City by the Bay, but California and even the West Coast to tourists, millions of whom immortalize the bridge every year in their photographs. 

Recently, officials started the process of installing $200 million suicide-prevention nets to deter people from jumping to their deaths. Made of seven football fields worth of stainless steel, the structure will curve up slightly at its ends and be suspended 200 feet above the Pacific Ocean on both sides of the bridge. 

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