Friday, May 25, 2012

Old Pictures of The Golden Gate Bridge - A Celebration on Its 75th Birthday

There’s something about a bridge. Whether it’s an ancient stone arch over a stream or a 19th century marvel like the Roeblings’ Brooklyn beauty or a modern, mile-long steel behemoth with towers that rise hundreds of feet into the air, a bridge is the most practical and the most evocative of structures. A bridge takes us places; a bridge connects places. And sometimes, a single bridge can help to define places.

Take the Golden Gate Bridge, 75 years old this year. (It opened on May 27, 1937.) With its immediately recognizable “international orange” — not golden — color, its slender, arcing span and its open, stepped towers so often rising dreamlike above the thick fog that courses through the Gate into the bay on summer afternoons, the Art Deco-inflected masterpiece literally connects San Francisco with Marin County to the north and (with perhaps even greater impact) symbolically connects the entire Bay Area with the wild blue Pacific yonder. Much like its older, statelier limestone and granite cousin 3,000 miles to the east in Brooklyn, the Golden Gate Bridge seems to have always been there. It’s almost impossible, now, to imagine the lower East River or the Golden Gate itself without those visionary, boldly executed marvels.

The view north from atop the Golden Gate Bridge in 1955 - Nat Farbman

The Golden Gate Bridge in 1950 - Margaret Bourke-White

The Golden Gate Bridge in 1955 - Nat Farbman

The Golden Gate Bridge (with San Francisco in the background) in 1950 - Margaret Bourke-White

The view south from atop the Golden Gate Bridge in 1955 - Nat Farbman

The Golden Gate Bridge in 1955 - Nat Farbman

The Golden Gate Bridge under construction, 1936

The Golden Gate Bridge under construction, 1936 - Peter Stackpole

The Golden Gate Bridge under construction, 1936 - Peter Stackpole

The Golden Gate Bridge under construction, 1936

(Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

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