27 Amazing Photos Showing the Construction of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge During the 1930s

Construction of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge began with the groundbreaking ceremony on July 9, 1933. Discussion of connecting both sides of the Bay with a bridge began in the early part of the 20th century.

In 1929, the California Legislature established the California Toll Bridge Authority with the responsibility of connecting the counties of San Francisco and Alameda with a bridge. The construction of the bridge continued through the Great Depression employing many workers on both sides of the Bay.

The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge opened to traffic on November 12, 1936 at 12:30 p.m. Celebrations included a boat parade, Navy air show, yacht regatta, Navy ship race, air parade of China Clippers and lasted for five days.

Train service across the Bay Bridge began on September 23, 1938 and ended in April 1958. The upper deck carried three lanes of automobile traffic in each direction, while the lower deck carried three lanes of truck and auto traffic on the north side and two railroad tracks on the south side.

The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge continues to be well-known landmark of the San Francisco Bay Area.

A historical photo collection from San Francisco Public Library that shows construction of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in the 1930s.

President Herbert Hoover, Governor James Rolph and beauty pageant winners pose at Bay Bridge groundbreaking ceremony on Yerba Buena Island, July 9, 1933
San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge east span under construction, circa 1934
Workers posing with reinforcing bars during construction of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, September 26, 1934
Aerial view looking west toward San Francisco showing towers, anchorage, and Yerba Buena Island span being erected for San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, March 1, 1935
Aerial view of east end of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge under construction, June 7, 1935
Men working on cables during construction of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, circa 1935
San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge, Construction – giant squeezer at work, circa 1935
View of San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge cantilever span nearing completion, circa 1935
View of Southern Pacific Golden Gate ferry passing under the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge during construction, November 29, 1935
View of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge while under construction showing suspension bridge catwalk extending from Rincon Hill, June 18, 1935
View of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge while under construction, circa 1935
Workers pressing cable for the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, 1935
Workmen assemble piece of the cantilever section of Bay Bridge, circa 1935
Working inside Yerba Buena Island tunnel during San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge construction, September 12, 1935
Aerial view from the tower of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge during construction, June 24, 1936
Aerial view of San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge span under construction, 1936
First section of Bay Bridge is moved into place, January 21, 1936

View from roadway of completed cantilever section of Bay Bridge, November 11, 1936
View of the cantilever section of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge looking east from Yerba Buena Island, circa 1936
Workers lay decking on San Francisco span of Bay Bridge, June 22, 1936
San Francisco Bay Bridge Opening Celebration as viewed from Four Fifty Sutter, November 12, 1936
People celebrating opening day of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, November 12, 1936
Two women and a balloon-man, participants of San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge opening day parade, 1936
California Highway Patrol officers pose on Bay Bridge, March 27, 1937
First electric train crossing the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, September 23, 1938
Control room for the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge electric railway system, January 13, 1939

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