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The Golden Gate Bridge, ‘America’s Parthenon,’ Turns 75

This week, the Golden Gate Bridge turns 75, and news outlets across the country, including the PBS NewsHour, are covering the anniversary. The first cars crossed the 1.7-mile bridge on May 27, 1937, when hundreds of thousands of people showed up for the opening-day celebration of what was hailed as the most elegant single-span suspension bridge in the world.

Thousands of San Franciscans are expected to visit the bridge again Sunday to celebrate the bridge’s anniversary. Museums across the city are hosting special exhibits, family bike rides to the bridge have been organized and artwork has been commissioned.

The bridge today faces challenges — traffic congestion, a high automobile toll and lack of funds for a planned suicide barrier — but it remains an American icon.

“The Golden Gate Bridge is America’s Parthenon,” in the words of John Van Der Zee, whose book, “The Gate: The True Story of the Design and Construction of the Golden Gate Bridge,” chronicled the bridge’s construction.

See more on the Golden Gate Bridge’s 75th anniversary celebration on Wednesday’s PBS NewsHour.

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