The St. John’s Bridge is what I imagine the Golden Gate would look like if it were located in Gotham City.
Construction began just one month after 1929’s “Black Tuesday” and kept many workers nearby employed throughout the great depression – at least until it opened in June 1931. If I’ve learned anything about lobbying during the Great Depression, it is that if you wanted anything done you had to entertain your audience. Just as J.D. Woods did in Washington State for his Hydro Project, the developers of the St. John’s bridge put together a vaudeville show that toured area halls and schools. It must have worked, because in 1928 voters passed a $4.25 million bond to fund the project.
The bridge was built in 21 months and $1 million under budget. At the time of its completion, the bridge had:
the highest clearance in the nation,
the longest prefabricated steel cable rope strands,
the tallest steel frame piers of reinforced concrete,
the first application of aviation clearance lights to the towers, and
longest suspension span west of Detroit, Michigan.
In 2006 the state DOT completed a refurbishment of the bridge to the tune of $34 million. They replacing the deck, suspension cables, repainted and improved pedestrian access.
Check out Cathedral Park below the bridge (it is supposedly haunted) and explore into the St. Johns neighborhood. It’s hanging on to it’s blue collar roots while remaining inviting with boutique shops, cool bars and trendy restaurants.