When it opened to vehicle traffic in May, 1937 the Golden Gate Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world. Since then eight bridges have surpassed it in length, but the iconic international orange span is still the most photographed bridge in the world. This month marks the Golden Gate’s 75th anniversary and the California Historical Society’s exhibit, A Wild Flight of the Imagination, celebrates the event with a look at the bridge’s construction. The exhibit has also been made available as a free eBook for the iPad, which includes historic photographs by Ansel Adams and Dorothea Lange as well as a short film of bridge designer Joseph Strauss speaking to a reporter during the bridge's construction. At the time, experts said that the Golden Gate strait’s ferocious winds and strong, swirling currents would make construction impossible. But the design introduced deflection theory, which utilizes a thin, flexible roadway and long cables that reduce structural stress.
The interactive app is accompanied by a musical score—the opening selection from composer Rob Kapilow’s Chrysopylae, Greek for “Golden Gate.” Early users of the eBook reported glitches with the app’s audio. The culprit may have been the side mute switch, which must be flipped off for the audio to work. Also, make sure your iPad’s volume is up. Like the exhibit in the society’s San Francisco museum, the app includes access to images of some 350 objects and ephemera related to the span’s construction. Almost as nice as a walk across the bridge’s 1.7 miles, and not nearly as windy.