Top Golden Gate Bridge Facts You Didn't Know

Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most famous and recognizable landmarks in the world. It’s certainly one of the most photographed as well. With its beautiful blue hues and views of the water, it’s no wonder that over 12 million visitors cross the bridge every year to get to the other side. But do you know everything there is to know about this iconic bridge? We bet not!


There are plenty of facts about the Golden Gate Bridge that may surprise you. Did you know how much it cost to build? How many people have jumped off it? Or what happens when a ship crosses it? Read on for some great facts about this wonderful bridge.


1. Who built the Golden Gate Bridge?


who built golden gate


If you didn’t know this already, the Golden Gate Bridge was built by the American Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps oversaw the entire construction process, from start to finish. It was a very large project and required a lot of people. The project employed upwards of 33,000 workers at any given time. That’s a lot of people to build just one bridge! Because of the size of the project, and the construction methods that were used, the Golden Gate Bridge took around 10 years to build. The design and idea came from engineer Joseph Strauss in 1917. 


The Golden Gate Strait, which separates the Pacific Ocean from the San Francisco Bay, is the inspiration for the bridge's name. However, how did the strait acquire its name? The name "Golden Horn" was given to the strait in 1846 because an American topographer thought it resembled a Byzantine harbor of the same name.


The Golden Gate Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world when it was built, with a length of 4,200 feet. Given that it kept this record up until 1964, this is among the most intriguing facts about the Golden Gate Bridge. It was finally exceeded by the New York City Verrazzano Bridge in 1964. Currently, the coveted title belongs to the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge in Japan.


2. How much did it cost to build?


The Golden Gate Bridge’s original cost of construction was estimated at $100 million, or approximately $1.3 billion in today’s dollars. However, due to high costs and unanticipated expenses, the final cost was $165 million. The bridge actually cost less than projected mainly due to a drop in the cost of cement. 


However, the initial plans were far more ambitious and would have cost several times more than the actual finished product. The initial plans for the Golden Gate Bridge called for a suspension bridge with a length of 19,000 feet (5,791 m). The final design was a little over 8,000 feet (2,438 m) long and cost $19 million. The majority of the money for the bridge was provided by the Federal Government.


3. When was the Golden Gate bridge built?


The Golden Gate Bridge construction began on January 5, 1933. It was completed on May 27, 1937. The bridge was officially opened for business on June 29, 1937. It was a long time in the making for sure. There were some delays along the way, but the project was eventually completed. 


The Golden Gate Bridge was built during the Great Depression. This was a time when millions of people were out of work and needed government assistance. You would think that the government would use the funds for unemployment, but they didn’t. They used the funds to build the Golden Gate Bridge!


4. The paint on the bridge


The paint on the Golden Gate Bridge is lead-based. As a result, the paint causes lead poisoning when it chips off and is ingested. The numbers are alarming. According to the San Francisco Department of Public Health, there are around 10,000 bridge workers who have been exposed to lead. A further 220,000 residents have been exposed to lead. That’s a big number! There are many ways that you can protect yourself from lead poisoning. You should avoid eating paint chips and wash your hands after being around the bridge.


5. The toll of the Golden Gate Bridge


golden gate


The toll of the Golden Gate Bridge is $7. This might seem cheap, but it has been the same price since 1937. The tolls have not increased since then. This was done to raise money for bridge maintenance. The bridge is government owned and operated, so it does not make a profit. The tolls go toward paying for the maintenance and other improvements to the bridge. If the Golden Gate Bridge was privately owned, then the toll would be around $40. That’s just how it works. The Golden Gate Bridge is a very profitable bridge. The tolls collected from the bridge are around $120 million every year. That’s a lot of money!


The one billionth car was recorded in February 1985, and to commemorate the event, the driver received a hard helmet and a case of champagne. Now that this milestone has passed, the bridge claims that 112,000 vehicles pass over it each day.


The "Friends of the Golden Gate Bridge" hosted a 50th-anniversary celebration on May 24th, 1987, marking the completion of the Golden Gate Bridge, drawing 800,000 people instead of the 80,000 predicted. On that particular day, 300,000 people went shoulder to shoulder across the bridge.


6. Interesting facts about the Golden Gate Bridge


  1. The Golden Gate Bridge has a pedestrian walkway on the northern side.
  2. There is a net underneath the bridge that catches people who fall off. There have been over 1,600 people caught since the bridge was built.
  3. The Golden Gate Bridge is the second-longest bridge in the United States.
  4. The Golden Gate Bridge is built over water that is only 50 feet deep. The water was only 30 feet deep when the bridge was being built.
  5. The Golden Gate Bridge is the most photographed bridge in the world. There are over 10 million photos of the bridge on Flickr alone.
  6. A contest to select the design of the bridge resulted in almost 1000 entries.
  7. The bridge has its own museum, operated by volunteers.
  8. At night, it’s lit with over 16 million LEDs in various colors to celebrate events, holidays, and milestones.
  9. During construction, 11 workers died, and one man lost his foot.
  10. It has its own police force.
  11. Its paint job is unique to this particular bridge.
  12. Its toll is a dollar per foot, but you can actually walk across for free.
  13. There are 250 feet of clearance underneath the arch of the bridge.
  14. It’s one of the most popular suicide spots in the world.


Final Words


The Golden Gate Bridge is a wonderful source of pride for California. It is a marvel of engineering and a very useful piece of infrastructure. It is also a beautiful landmark that we are all very lucky to have. We hope you enjoyed our article on Golden Gate Bridge Facts, and don't forget to share! When you are standing on the Golden Gate Bridge, remember to look up. The bridge is an engineering marvel, and it is a truly beautiful sight. With these facts, you are sure to impress your friends and family with your knowledge of this iconic bridge! Follow for more travel tips and advice.

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