Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Rik George writes

Golden Gate Bridge

Chickens on a truck 

scatter white feathers 
on the orange bridge. 
A west wind puffs them 
over the rail to the Bay.
See the sail boats 
waltzing with the wind.
Abstract Golden Gate Bridge Painting - Daily Painters Blog - A Painting a Day - Original Oil and Acrylic Artwork by Northern California Artist Mark Webster -- Mark Adam Webster
 Golden Gate Bridge -- Mark Adam Webster


  1. The Golden Gate (formerly the "Boca del Puerto de San Francisco") is a one-mile (1.6 km) wide, 1.7 mile (2.7 km) long strait that connects San Francisco bay to the Pacific ocean, created when the waters of the glacier-fed Sacramento and San Joaquin rivesr scoured a deep channel through the bedrock during the last ice age. In 1846 John C. Frémont renamed it "Chrysopylae" (Golden Gate). Since 1937 it has been spanned by the 4,200 ft (1,300 m) Golden Gate Bridge, the longest suspension bridge span in the world until 1964; its towers, at 746 ft (227 m) above the water, were the world's tallest on a suspension bridge until 1998; its clearance above high water averages 220 feet (67 m). James Wilkins, a former engineering student, wrote an article in the "San Francisco Bulletin" in 1916 in which he proposed constructing a bridge across the strait, but the city's engineer M. M. O'Shaughnessy rejected the idea as too costly; however, structural engineer Joseph Strauss suggested a design that would cut the costs from $100 million to only $17 million. While hospitalized as a student at the University of Cincinnati, his room overlooked the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge between Cincinnati, Ohio, and Covington, Kentucky (at the time, the world's longest suspension bridge, at 1,057 ft [322 m]), which led to his graduate thesis, a design for 55-mi (89 km) railroad bridge across the Bering Strait. He founded the Strauss Bascule Bridge Company of Chicago and revolutionized the design of drawbridges by using concrete counterweights instead of iron ones. By the time he became involved with the Golden Gate Bridge project he had completed some 400 drawbridges, most of which were inland. As chief engineer, he had to find funding and support for the bridge; the Department of War was concerned that the bridge would interfere with ship traffic, while the Department of the Navy feared that a ship collision or sabotage could block the entrance to one of its main harbors; unions demanded guarantees that local workers would be favored for construction jobs; the Southern Pacific Railroad opposed the competition to its Golden Gate Ferry Co. affiliate, the largest in the world. However, the fledgling automobile industry, which supported the development of roads and bridges to increase demand for automobiles, was a stauch ally. The state legislature passed the Golden Gate Bridge and Highway District Act in 1923, creating a special district to design, construct, and finance the bridge; it was incorporated in 1928 but, due to the Depression, was unable to raise construction funds. A $30 million bond measure was approved in 1930 by voters in the counties directly affected by the bridge; however, the district was unable to sell the bonds until 1932, when Amadeo Giannini, the founder of the San Francisco-based Bank of America, agreed to buy the entire issue in order to help the local economy.

  2. Strauss' initial bascule design was rejected, so he switched to a cable-suspension model and delegated most of its engineering and architectural work to others, though he downplayed the contributions of his collaborators, who received little recognition or compensation. The final design was conceived by Leon Moisseiff, the Manhattan Bridge designer, who produced the basic structural design which introduced his "deflection theory" by which a thin, flexible roadway would flex in the wind, greatly reducing stress by transmitting forces via suspension cables to the bridge towers, which were designed by residential architect Irving Morrow, who also did the lighting scheme and the Art Deco elements on the tower decorations, streetlights, railing, and walkways. The navy had wanted the bridge to be painted with black and yellow stripes to ensure visibility by passing ships, but Morrow chose International Orange (an orange vermilion originally used as a sealant for the bridge) in order to complement the natural surroundings and enhance visibility in fog. The principle (though unacknowledged) engineer was Charles Alton Ellis, who also designed a "bridge within a bridge" in the southern abutment to avoid the need to demolish Fort Point, a pre-Civil War masonry fortification regarded as worthy of historic preservation. Ellis was a Greek scholar and mathematician who had been a University of Illinois professor of engineering despite having no engineering degree, though he had acquired one by the time he worked on the Golden Gate and was the author of the standard textbook on structural design. In 1931 Strauss fired Ellis for wasting too much money sending telegrams back and forth to Moisseiff in New York, but, unable to find work elsewhere during the Depression, Ellis continued working 70 hours per week on an unpaid basis. Construction began on 5 January 1933, conducted by the McClintic-Marshall Construction Co., a subsidiary of Bethlehem Steel Corporation. California's assistant civil engineer Alfred Finnila oversaw the entire iron work of the bridge and half of the bridge's road work, but Strauss oversaw day-to-day construction, innovating the use of movable safety netting beneath the construction site to protect the workers; this saved the lives of 19 men. The project cost more than $35 million, completing ahead of schedule and $1.3 million under budget. The bridge-opening celebration began on 27 May 1937 and lasted a week.
    Strauss wrote a poem that is now on the Golden Gate Bridge:

    The Mighty Task is Done

    At last the mighty task is done;
    Resplendent in the western sun
    The Bridge looms mountain high;
    Its titan piers grip ocean floor,
    Its great steel arms link shore with shore,
    Its towers pierce the sky.

    On its broad decks in rightful pride,
    The world in swift parade shall ride,
    Throughout all time to be;
    Beneath, fleet ships from every port,
    Vast landlocked bay, historic fort,
    And dwarfing all--the sea.

    To north, the Redwood Empire's gates;
    'To south, a happy playground waits,
    in Rapturous appeal;
    Here nature, free since time began,
    Yields to the restless moods of man,
    Accepts his bonds of steel.

    Launched midst a thousand hopes and fears,
    Damned by a thousand hostile sneers,
    Yet ne'er its course was stayed,
    But ask of those who met the foe
    Who stood alone when faith was low,
    Ask them the price they paid.

    Ask of the steel, each strut and wire,
    Ask of the searching, purging fire,
    That marked their natal hour;
    Ask of the mind, the hand, the heart,
    Ask of each single, stalwart part,
    What gave it force and power.

    An Honored cause and nobly fought
    And that which they so bravely wrought,
    Now glorifies their deed,
    No selfish urge shall stain its life,
    Nor envy, greed, intrigue, nor strife,
    Nor false, ignoble creed.

    High overhead its lights shall gleam,
    Far, far below life's restless stream,
    Unceasingly shall flow;
    For this was spun its lithe fine form,
    To fear not war, nor time, nor storm,
    For Fate had meant it so.


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