Golden Gate Bridge Turns 75
The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is celebrating its 75th Birthday weekend with fanfare, including a boat parade and a ballet. She is also getting added sparkle in the form of remotely operated mirrors, which will flash narrow beams of reflected sunlight all around the bay.
Before the bridge was built, the only way to cross the Golden Gate was by ferry, according to CNET, and those who ran the local vessels were among the San Francisco Bay’s elite. The first requests for a bridge began in the late 1860s, and in 1872, railroad tycoon Charles Crocker proposed a bridge that would span the strait and could carry passengers and rail cars.
The ground-breaking ceremony was held on February 26, 1933 and the final rivet was put in place on April 27, 1937. The bridge officially opened to traffic on May 27, 1937, and now carries more than 110,000 cars across the bay each day.
The Los Altos Patch writes that:
“Various exhibits will be on display throughout the Marina, Presidio and Golden Gate National Park area all day including an orange artists’ exhibition at Fort Point to celebrate the bridge’s distinct coloring, music and dancing at Crissy Field and on the Marina Green, and a vintage maritime display with classic boats that can be viewed from St. Francis Yacht Club.”
There will also be a fireworks display, which will not be televised.
Along with the celebrations, the project that marries art and science with remotely controlled mirrors on the bridge’s two towers, will begin. The concept for the heliostat began in 2005, according to the L.A. Times, when astrophysicist John Vallerga and his colleague Pat Jelinsky approached Liliane Lijn of London, an artist-in-residence at their space lab.
The three came up with the idea of placing prism heliostats on the bridge’s two towers, which would convert sunlight into refracted rainbow colors.
Vallerga stated of the project that:
“We love our view of the bridge. We’ve always wanted to enhance it with a little sparkle…It’s art in progress. It’s never been done before and we don’t know what it’s going to look like.”
The L.A. Times reports that the public can arrange their own performance of the project, called Solar Beacon, by going to the installation’s website. There, they can enter a fixed location and time they want the mirrors to point the sunlight beam in their direction.