Spotlight on Joseph Strauss, Chief engineer of the Golden Gate Bridge

Spotlight on Joseph Strauss, Chief engineer of the Golden Gate Bridge

I must confess.  Until we actually arrived in San Francisco to see the Golden Gate Bridge in person, I had no idea that it was flanked by the Golden Gate Park!

Located in the center of it, was a statue of a man that I was not familiar with.  His name was Joseph Strauss and him along with Charles Alton Ellis, the man who is largely credited with the actual structural design, is responsible for bringing the Golden Gate Bridge to life.


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Unfortunately, the two had a falling out and Ellis was fired before construction began.  He was never credited for his work on the project after the bridge was finished in 1937.

In 2007, he was finally acknowledged for his contribution by the Bridge Authority.

During construction, Strauss insisted that a net is placed underneath the bridge to ensure the safety of its workers.  As a result, nineteen lives were saved.  However, weeks before its opening, 12 workers fell from scaffolding into the net.  Unfortunately, the net ripped and only two of the workers survived.

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Since this was a massive undertaking, you can imagine the difficulties, financial or otherwise, that Strauss had to face to see the project to its completion.

He once lamented  “It took two decades and 200 million words to convince the people that the bridge was feasible, then only four years and $35 million to put the concrete and steel together.”

The bridge was finally completely in 1937 and sadly Strauss died from a stroke a year later.

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Renee King
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