Culture Surrounding the Golden Gate Bridge in the Bay Area
The Bay Area has many significant buildings, structures, and monuments which make the city what it is today but none can compare to the Golden Gate Bridge. The Golden Gate Bridge was opened May 27, 1937 which marked its start as becoming one of the most internationally recognized symbols in San Francisco and the United States as a whole. The American Society of Civil engineering acknowledged the Golden Gate Bridge as one of the Wonders of the Modern World due to its beauty and popularity among photographers, tourists, and civil engineering enthusiasts. The Golden Gate Bridge is a culturally significant object in the Bay Area because it ground the local community during tough times, the community rallied around its construction, the bridge was a spectacular engineering feat for Americans, and the Golden Gate Bridge inspired many artists through music, art, and film. The Great Depression was a terrible time in our nation’s history but it led President Hoover to commission the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge and many other civil engineering projects throughout America. The Great Depression was a worldwide economic depression which swept through nations following World War II in the early 1930’s. The Great Depression began in the United States where stock prices started to fall around September 4, 1929. The news of the market crash, also known as Black Tuesday, became worldwide news on October 29, 1929. “The Depression, as everyone soon learned to call it, was worldwide -- and it hit California like a ton of bricks. Suddenly, almost overnight, the mood darkened. Businesses that had been expanding suddenly cut back. People were laid off, couldn't pay their bills, couldn't find a new job. In those days, there was no such thing as unemployment insurance. No welfare, no social security, nothing” (Nolte, 1999). To counter the Great Depression, President Hoover established many civil engineering projects to spark America’s economy and provide jobs for the millions of people who were laid off from their jobs. One of these civil engineering projects was the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Some of the projects that were included in President Hoover’s plan were “the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the Shasta Dam in California, the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River, and the nation's first freeway in Los Angeles” (Dunar). President Hoover took office during a peak of America’s economy but just seven months after taking office, America’s economy, along with many other countries in the early 1930’s, fell into the Great Depression. Hoover was blamed by many American people for the Great Depression. The shanty towns people were forced to live in became known as Hooverville’s. “In 1930, succumbing to pressure from American industrialists, Hoover signed the Hawley-Smoot Tariff which was designed to protect American industry from overseas competition” (Dunar). Hoover was advised against this by every economist in America but he still went ahead and signed the tariff which was the largest tariff in America’s history. “The amount of protection received by industry did not offset the losses brought by a decrease in foreign trade” (Dunar). The Hawley-Smoot Tariff was a complete failure but Hoover had one more plan to counter the Great Depression. In 1932, Hoover signed legislation which created the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC). The RFC gave half a billion dollars for loans to corporations, state governments, and banks. This allowed the start of many civil engineering projects including the Golden Gate Bridge which created thousands of jobs which started to slowly pull America out of the Great Depression. The construction of the Golden Gate Bridge started on January 5, 1933. Many jobs became available once the bridge started construction and men flocked to the shorefront to get jobs. However, the work on the bridge was highly...
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