When it was completed in 1937, The Golden Gate Bridge was the largest suspension bridge in the world. It was the brainchild of Joseph Strauss, an engineer responsible for more than 400 drawbridges, who spent well over a decade drumming up interest in the project.
The six-county Golden Gate Bridge and Highway District was incorporated in 1928 as the official entity to design, construct and finance the Bridge. Voters within the district approved funding for the project in 1930 through a special bond issue that put their homes, farms and business properties up as collateral to raise the initial $35 million to finance the Bridge. Construction began on January 5, 1933. The last of the construction bonds were retired in 1971, with $35 million in principal and nearly $39 million in interest being financed entirely from tolls.
The center span of the Golden Gate Bridge was the longest suspension bridge until 1964, when the Verrazano Narrows Bridge was erected in New York. The Bridge also had the world’s tallest suspension towers, a record it maintained until recent years.
Since May 28, 1937, when President Franklin Roosevelt pushed a button in Washington, D.C. signaling the start of vehicle traffic over the Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge has become an internationally recognized symbol of the spirit, charm and natural beauty of San Francisco.