“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
San Francisco in San Francisco City and County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)

The Bay Bridge

The Bay Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, December 18, 2014
1. The Bay Bridge Marker
The Bay Bridge troll is at the top.
Inscription. Begun in 1933 in the depths of the Depression, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge put hundreds of men to work on two six-hour shifts, morning and night, for three years and seven months, to finish two months ahead of schedule on November 12, 1936, at a cost of $78,000,000. Declared a masterpiece of functional engineering, the eight and one-half mile span became the longest bridge of its kind in the world.

(photograph 1 and cross-section diagram of the Bay Bridge)
Yerba Buena island linked the two bridge crossings, as engineers tunneled through solid rock to create the world's largest diameter bore tunnel, excavating to a width of 65.5 feet and a height of 52.8 feet. The rock spoils helped to form Treasure Island, site of the 1939 World's Fair, and later the United States Navy base.
The bridge was designed to carry two levels of traffic, automobiles on the top level, and trucks and fast electric trains on the lower level. The trains carried passengers to cities throughout the East Bay and as far north as Chico, 128 miles away. But trains could not compete with the freeways, and last ran in 1958. The tracks were then removed to make room for more auto traffic.

(photograph 2)
Dubbed "Moran's Island," after Daniel Moran, expert on deep-water footing, the prodigious anchorage
The Bay Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, December 18, 2014
2. The Bay Bridge Marker
between San Francisco and Yerba Buena Island is not solid but instead is composed of steel cylinders encased in concrete. The world's largest pneumatic timber caisson, measuring 97 by 192 feet, was towed to the center of the west crossing and sunk by releasing compressed air; concrete was then poured in the space between the cylinders. The resulting pier is the equivalent of a 40-story building covering half a city block. The massive anchorage for the twin suspension bridges was built on a rocky ridge 220 feet below. This ancient underwater rock formation determined the route of the Bay Bridge to its San Francisco origins, anchored on the rock of Rincon Hill.

(photograph 3)
At age 78, Wally Ortez remembers when he got his job working as a rigger, building the Bay Bridge in 1933. "Listen, I was so damn lucky to get a job with a paycheck and so proud to say I was building that bridge, that I had to do something. So at lunch I would run as fast as I could right down the middle of that cat walk - from where I was, up to the next tower and back again. It was like running on a hammock, but 540 feet over the bay. I was only 19, I had more guts than sense.

(photgraph 4)
On November 12, 1936, as searchlights celebrated the opening of the Bay Bridge, no one would have believed that the great spans would break, But on October 18, 1989,
The base of the The Bay Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, December 18, 2014
3. The base of the The Bay Bridge Marker
These are dreams and these are realities into which we have fallen and daily return suspend like bridges over the final bay of the world.
a 7.1 earthquake severed a span and closed the bridge. After repairing the damage, workmen riveted a traditional iron bridge troll to the mended joint to protect the bridge from future catastrophe. Invisible to commuters but shown at the top of this pylon, the troll is a symbol of the mighty bridge and those workers who built and repaired it.

(on the back of the pylon)
Men who gave their lives in the course of the Bay Bridge construction

Louis R. Knight, age 24, rigger, died November 25, 1933 William H. Morotzke, carpenter, died December 8, 1933 E.S. Hill, caulker, died December 10, 1933 Lloyd H. Evans, diver, died December 14, 1933 Harold Schwates, construction worker, died April 21, 1934 George J. Weikert, bridgeman, died September 18, 1934 Donald McEachern, bridgeman, died October 25, 1934 Bernard Hauffman, electrician's helper, died November 12, 1934 R.L. Poole, rigger, died December 5, 1934 Adolph Silversen, carpenter, died January 21, 1935 Christy Thompson, carpenter, died March 6, 1935 Henry Dennington, bridgeman, died June 5, 1935 Arthur Lamoreaux, bridgeman, died June 17, 1935 Michael Edward Markey, bridgeman, died July 2, 1935 Walter Vanderburg, bridgeman, died September 16, 1935 Marion Tavares, concrete laborer, died November 6, 1935 Ed Correll, foreman painter, died December
The Bay Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, December 18, 2014
4. The Bay Bridge Marker
5, 1935 Paul Shelton, bridgeman, died March 28, 1936 Charles Bazzili, bridgeman, died April 9, 1936 Roy C. Bishop, rigger, died April 21, 1936 Paul Gurley, bridgeman, died June 3, 1936 George Zink, carpenter, died June 7, 1936 W. Aguado, bridgeman, died July 10, 1936
Erected by San Francisco Art Commission for the Waterfront Transportation Projects.
Location. 37° 47.137′ N, 122° 23.266′ W. Marker is in San Francisco, California, in San Francisco City and County. Marker is on The Embarcadero near Beale Street. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 591 The Embarcadero, San Francisco CA 94105, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Beale Street Wharf (within shouting distance of this marker); Beale Street (within shouting distance of this marker); Brannan Street (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Matson Line (about 400 feet away); Bryant Street (about 500 feet away); Waterfront Railroad (about 700 feet away); Fremont Street (about 700 feet away); Spear Street (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in San Francisco.
More about this marker. The marker is on the San Francisco Bay Trail at the south end of Pier 30-32.
Also see . . .
The Bay Bridge Troll image. Click for full size.
By Bay Bridge Info
5. The Bay Bridge Troll
Recovered when the eastern span of the Bay Bridge was replaced.

1. Bay Bridge History Timeline - Bay Bridge Info. The self-proclaimed Emperor Norton was a celebrated and highly eccentric citizen of San Francisco and the first to decree that a suspension bridge be constructed to connect Oakland to San Francisco. On September 17, 1872 he decreed: "Whereas, we issued our decree ordering the citizens of San Francisco and Oakland to appropriate funds for the survey of a suspension bridge from Oakland Point via Goat Island; also for a tunnel; and to ascertain which is the best project; and whereas the said citizens have hitherto neglected to notice our said decree; and whereas we are determined our authority shall be fully respected; now, therefore, we do hereby command the arrest by the army of both the Boards of City Fathers if they persist in neglecting our decrees.” Although his decree to build a bridge had widespread public and political appeal, the task was too much of an engineering and economic challenge at the time. (Submitted on March 8, 2016, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.) 

2. San Francisco Bay Bridge LED Lights Project. Only in San Francisco. (Submitted on March 8, 2016, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.) 
Categories. Bridges & ViaductsDisasters
The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, November 1, 2011
6. The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 205 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.   5, 6. submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
Paid Advertisement