May 27th is the Anniversary Date for our beloved Golden Gate Bridge. May 28th, 1937 was the first day for automobile traffic to drive across. Never, well, perhaps the Brooklyn Bridge, has a bridge so captured the hearts of a population. The Bridge is often a photography model, imprinted on endless amounts of tourist products, and it provides a launching pad into the next life.
The Golden Gate rivermouth span is the inspiration for San Francisco State University’s mascot, The Golden Gaters. Later changed to, The Gators, as in, alligators. (Note: There are no alligators in northern California.)
All text following has been copied off other, noted, sites:
The bridge-opening celebration began on 27 May 1937 and lasted for one week. The day before vehicle traffic was allowed, 200,000 people crossed by foot and roller skate. On opening day, Mayor Angelo Rossi and other officials rode the ferry to Marin, then crossed the bridge in a motorcade past three ceremonial “barriers,” the last a blockade of beauty queens who required Joseph Strauss to present the bridge to the Highway District before allowing him to pass. An official song, “There’s a Silver Moon on the Golden Gate,” was chosen to commemorate the event. Strauss wrote a poem that is now on the Golden Gate Bridge entitled “The Mighty Task is Done.” The next day, President Roosevelt pushed a button in Washington, DC signaling the official start of vehicle traffic over the Bridge at noon. When the celebration got out of hand, the SFPD had a small riot in the uptown Polk Gulch area. Weeks of civil and cultural activities called “the Fiesta” followed. A statue of Strauss was moved in 1955 to a site near the bridge.
WHY THE NAME GOLDEN GATE?
The Golden Gate Strait is the entrance to the San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean. The strait is approximately three-miles long by one-mile wide with currents ranging from 4.5 to 7.5 knots. It is generally accepted that the strait was named “Chrysopylae”, or Golden Gate, by John C. Fremont, Captain, topographical Engineers of the U.S. Army circa 1846. It reminded him of a harbor in Instanbul named Chrysoceras or Golden Horn.
1931 – Men’s sports, particularly football, become more popular at SF State. After SF State’s student newspaper, the “Bay Leaf,” calls for the school to adopt a mascot, a reader proposes the alligator — because “it is strong and we hope our teams have strength. It is well-built and is steadfast, steadily moving toward its goal.” The reader also proposes spelling the Golden Gaters with an “e” to typify our San Franciscan location to strangers. Students vote to adopt it. That August, however, the Bay Leaf begins inconsistently misspelling the name as “‘Gator,” and after the paper eventually changes its own name to the “Golden Gater,” the name and spelling sticks.