inspiration

THE PEOPLE & THINGS THAT INSPIRE US
Golden Gate Bridge
A Symbol Rises Up from Depression

The morning sun rises from above the hills in the east gradually revealing the contours of San Francisco Bay. As if is being sucked in by the sunlight, the wind blows in from the still dark outer sea. The entryway into San Francisco was named "Golden Gate" for its resemblance to Chrysophylae, or Golden Horn, that leads into Istanbul Harbor. It was in 1937 that the Golden Gate Bridge was built over the entrance to San Francisco Bay.

For most tourists, 7am is too early to visit this world famous sightseeing spot. However, the traffic heading to San Francisco is starting to back up and many local joggers and cyclists are already on the sidewalk. Arriving in small vehicles that look like golf carts, bridge maintenance crews get ready for work.

The bridge was built in the midst of the Great Depression as part of the New Deal program. Connecting past and present economic crises are memories evoked by President Obama's announcement of his Green New Deal Plan in 2008. Many unemployed workers flocked to take part in the large-scale bridge construction project. In most demand were divers and welders. The morale of the divers and welders was high and many of them started working before they were scheduled to.

The cold Pacific current running along the west coast keeps the water temperatures low all year round. The whirlpools and eddies in the strait around the base of the Art Deco style main towers created difficult conditions for the divers. The main cables going across the two ends of the bridge via the main towers alone used more than 80,000 miles of steel wires. The catwalk used by the workers was constantly buffeted by the strong sea breeze and made slippery by the fog that frequently rolled in. Only a few among many welders at the job had experience in bridge construction; the work at such heights no doubt made the workers nervous all the time.

Today the workers still work on painting the bridge all year long. In teams of two, one works on high up on a lift while another looks up and constantly adjusts the slack of the lifeline. This is why San Francisco's symbolic bridge keeps emitting its bright orange color all the time. The statue of the bridge designer stands immovable at the foot of the bridge, always watching over the workers.