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The Golden Gate Bridge is not only an American landmark, but also the first image many people associate with the West Coast, or at least California and San Francisco. The colossal suspension bridge spans the mile-wide channel between San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. Opened in 1937, the Golden Gate held the award for longest suspension bridge main span in the world (4,200 feet!) until 1967. The bridge was built to replace a ferry service that was the only link between San Francisco and what is now Marin County.
Determined engineer Joseph Strauss was the lead designer of the bridge, and he spent over a decade gaining support for the monumental project. Construction began on January 5th, 1933, and completed in April 1937. The bridge-opening ceremony lasted an entire week, during which 200,000 people crossed the bridge on roller skates and by foot.
One reason the Golden Gate Bridge is so recognizable is because of its color, officially an orange vermillion called international orange. Consulting architect Irving Morrow selected the color because it both complements the surrounding environment and makes the bridge more visible in fog. At night, lighting enhances the bridge’s cables and towers to make the landmark even more dazzling and unmissable. To visit the bridge, you can take in a sweeping view from the plaza, which is also the starting point of many tours. Another option to truly experience the Golden Gate is to walk or bike across its length.