The fact that a Golden Gate Bridge exists at all is largely testament to the persistence of one man—chief engineer Joseph Strauss.
While most experts had decried the project as simply out-of-the-question, due to the many difficult weather conditions exhibited across the bay, Strauss disagreed.
Despite having minimal expertise in projects of this size—he had largely specialized in inland drawbridges—in 1922 Strauss presented the city with a plan 75% cheaper than any previously received. The city’s chiefs accepted.
Work finally began in 1933, and the bridge opened in 1937. Eleven workers died in the process, but another 19 were saved by a giant net slung between the bridges’ two pontoons.
Immediately the whole project seemed doomed when the bay’s ferry organizations took the city to court. Finally, in 1928, the legal protests were thrown out—in no small measure due to the ferries’ inability to handle the traffic levels at the docking bays.
The famous red color was originally an undercoat of anti-rust primer, and both the Navy and Army argued for a stripe finish. But an architect working on the project was so enamoured with the primer that he created a 30-page report setting out the logic using red, and red won the day.