You are now entering the Jewish Currents archive.

May 28: Joseph Strauss’ Golden Gate

Lawrence Bush
May 28, 2010

800px-GoldenGateBridge-001On this date in 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge, engineered by Joseph Strauss to span the San Francisco Bay, was officially opened to traffic by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It was the longest suspension bridge at the time and one of America’s finest architectural works. Strauss, who died at age 68 just one year after the bridge’s completion, was a conscientious engineer who required that a net be installed during construction; it saved the lives of 19 workers. He was also a poet who wrote “The Redwoods,” in appreciation of the giant trees of the Pacific Northwest: “This is their temple, vaulted high,/And here, we pause with reverent eye,/With silent tongue and awestruck soul;/For here we sense life’s proper goal . . .” The Golden Gate Bridge became an icon for Chinese and other Asian immigrants to America — and for thousands of Jews who had survived the Holocaust in Shanghai and came to the West Coast after the war.
“At last the mighty task is done;/Resplendent in the western sun . . .” —Joseph Strauss

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.