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September 26, 2013

Incredible Pictures of People Flattened Golden Gate Bridge During the 50th Anniversary Celebration in 1987

On Sunday, May 24, 1987, it seemed that every person in San Francisco, Marin and throughout the Bay Area had awakened at dawn and left home to visit the Golden Gate Bridge.

The span’s 50th birthday was celebrated that day, and the masses came on trains, buses, taxis, boats, bicycles, skates, strollers, wheelchairs, and on foot. With the bridge closed to vehicles, a sea of thousands of walkers marched onto the bridge from both ends of the 1.7-mile span.

Officials expected that some 50,000 people would walk across the bridge and witness ceremonies at the middle of the roadbed. They missed badly on their projections. By 5:30 in the morning, hundreds of thousands already were pouring onto the roadway and the sidewalks from both ends.

Estimates of the size of the crowd ranged wildly — from 250,000 pedestrians to 800,000. No matter the actual number, the mass of humanity flattened out the arched roadbed. Meanwhile, winds of 30 to 35 miles per hour produced a sway on the bridge, unnerving the congested crowd.

“I’m grateful because if the others had gotten out there, maybe the bridge would have fallen down,” Gary Giacomini, then president of the bridge district's board, told The Associated Press at the time.

While the huge crowd was the enduring memory of the 50th birthday, other activities were under way — a parade of vintage cars from the 1937 festivities, fireworks over the bridge that evening, and Tony Bennett and Carol Channing entertained at an outdoor concert on Crissy Field in the Presidio.


















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