Golden Gate Bridge

We’re desensitized to the magic of some icons. The Mona Lisa looks like all the pictures you’ve seen of the Mona Lisa. Even the Eiffel Tower looks like the Eiffel Tower. But not the Golden Gate Bridge. You know exactly what it looks like — you’ve seen it in countless photos and movies. But you never know quite how it’s going to take your breath away till you see it in person. It’s gorgeous, the end.

Golden Gate before the building of the bridge, 1937
1. Golden Gate before the building of the bridge, 1932

We’ve written about historian Michael Beschloss’ Twitter account before, when taking a gander at historic photos of Los Angeles, and we’re back again, looking at the bounty that is the historical archive of pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge.

The Golden Gate Bridge being built, 1936
2. The Golden Gate Bridge being built, 1936

Around 200,000 pedestrians cross the Golden Gate Bridge by foot and roller skate on opening day, 1937
3. Around 200,000 pedestrians cross the Golden Gate Bridge by foot and roller skate on opening day, 1937

A maintenance worker climbs almost a half-mile up the tower of the Golden Gate Bridge, 1952
4. A maintenance worker climbs almost a half-mile up the tower of the Golden Gate Bridge, 1952

Cars move across the new Golden Gate Bridge after Franklin Delano Roosevelt telegraphed OK from the White House, 1937
5. Cars move across the new Golden Gate Bridge after Franklin Delano Roosevelt telegraphed OK from the White House, 1937

The first day of pedestrians crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, 1937
6. The first day of pedestrians crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, 1937

Looking down on the Golden Gate Bridge from overhead, 1955
7. Looking down on the Golden Gate Bridge from overhead, 1955

Kim Novak and the Golden Gate Bridge star in Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo, 1958
8. Kim Novak and the Golden Gate Bridge star in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, 1958

…and here’s one ugly design that never was:

A rejected design of the Golden Gate Bridge
9. A rejected design of the Golden Gate Bridge

But wait, there’s more:

Correction: The original version of this article incorrectly listed the date of the first photo as 1937.