Golden Gate Party 1987

May 24th, 1987, a day that will live in infamy, at least amongst suspension bridge enthusiasts

The organizers of the 50th Anniversary Celebration for the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco expected perhaps 50,000 people to participate in their open bridge walk, so they were pretty shocked, and unprepared, when 800,000 showed up.

I was visiting that great city for the first time and happened to be there during that week in May 1987 when the celebration took place. My friends and I didn’t get far as we tried to join the walkers on the bridge, but I took plenty of photographs of the excited celebrants along the way. And, reading reports afterwards it may be for the best that we didn’t get onto the bridge proper, as it was stressed beyond what it was built to handle. With the bridge over-crowded and swaying wildly in the wind wide-spread nausea and claustrophobia was common amongst those who did make it.

Here is a fascinating research paper on what happened that day, and why, by Professor Spiro N. Pollalis and his Research Assistant Caroline Otto of the Laboratory for Construction Technology, Graduate School of Design at Harvard University:

http://goldengatebridge.org/research/documents/researchpaper_50th.pdf

The assumption is that the city will be better prepared for this weekend’s Golden Gate Bridge¬†75th Anniversary festivities.

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2 Responses to Golden Gate Party 1987

  1. Linda Kuo says:

    800,000 really unbelievable. Interesting phenomenon on all counts for sure. And those bridge hats. Priceless.

  2. Thomas O' Connell says:

    I flew up from LOS ANGELES , stayed at the ST FRANCIS….walked to the FERRY BLD at 3 am..no shuttles ,,,walked all the route to the GOLDEN GATE and walked across the bBridge 3 times..laying in the middle , listening to the win thru the cables ,,,writing “HAPPY BIRTHDAY ” on the “BOTTS ceramic dots” in the roadway….going to CRISSY FIELD…and FORT PPOINT…then at the ST FRANCIS YACHT CLUB…on the wall…listenedto TONY BENNETT sing “I LEFT MY HEART IN SAN FRANCISCO” ….watched the fireworks firefall off the BRIDGE…as the GOLGEN GATE was lit for the first time!…walked back to the ST FRANCIS at UNION SQUARE…exhausted ..had a drink …the bartender gave me champagne and glasses w logos for the ST FRANCIS and the 50TH ANNIVERSARY GOLDEN GATE CELEBRATION…flew home the next day on PAN AM..calculated I walked 25 miles that day! BEST PARTY I EVER ATTENDED …EVERYONE WAS SUPER PARTY MODE AND FRIENDLY! …ONCE IN A LIFETIME!

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