It was 20 years ago in May..

Golden Gate 50th anniversary 002Originally uploaded by richey rich

I found this box of slides recently and had them downloaded and want to share them with you readers and spambots. click on this picture to see the set.

20 years ago, on May 27th, 1987, The Golden Gate Bridge celebrated it’s 50th anniversary with a weekend-long celebration. It included the Sunday morning “footwalk”-closing the bridge to motor traffic and giving it to the pedestrian masses. This was a re-creation of the original opening day “pedestrian day”event in 1937.  In 1987, I was there, with what was estimated at three quarters of a million other people. Footwalk became footlock as the bridge was choked with people from the Waldo grade all the way to Fort Point. The static weight was so heavy on the bridge, that it caused the span, at the height of the pedestrian jam, to flatten completely. Engineers later said that the stress that day was nearly enough to collapse the bridge. Unfortunately, at the point of worst deflection, I was in the middle of it (literally) so I didnt get the picture of the complete “flattening”, but look closely at this picture:You can definitely see that the bridge is warped in this picture. Also, if you look really really close, you can see, just below the 1st lightpost on the span, someone climbing along the railing. there are more that you can see if you enlarge this pic, at various points up to the San Francisco tower.

It was an amazing day, that memorial day weekend so long ago. I remember it being so crowded on the bridge deck that you could let yourself lean forward and you’d be held up by the push of the crowd. also, the road deck underneath was swaying back and forth and sideways, like a funhouse.

insane people climbing over the railing and crossing the channel on the outside rails. it was so crowded, no one could stop them.

I found this great pic on the internet showing the sagging span on that day.

The fireworks display that night was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before or since.The whole bridge deck exploded in a waterfall of sparks from the deck all the way down to the water, all the way across the span.

The original pedestrian day walk – 1937

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