SAN FRANCISCO

Bay Bridge Anniversary: The San Francisco Bay Bridge Turns 75 (PHOTOS)

11/10/2011 08:52 pm ET | Updated Jan 11, 2012

We've had our ups and downs with the Bay Bridge. (Loma Prieta, the S-curve of death...) But at the end of the day, many of us couldn't get home without it. And on Saturday, we can celebrate 75 years of trans-bay transportation.

On November 12, 1936, the Bay Bridge celebrated its grand opening, complete with a chain-cutting ceremony by President Herbert Hoover. At the time, it was the longest suspended-deck bridge in the world.

Talks about building a Bay-spanning bridge began during the Gold Rush, when the transcontinental railroad was completed -- with San Francisco on the wrong side of the Bay. San Francisco businesses worried that the city would lose its position as a global trade center. It's rumored that the city's famed self-proclaimed Imperial Majesty Emperor Norton even issued a decree calling for its construction.

Finally, in 1933, workers broke ground. At points, the bay was 100-feet deep, with thick layers of mud covering the bedrock. Workers thus drove entire old-growth fir trees through the mud to act as pilings. The complete project took three years and five months and cost about $77 million -- $6 million under budget.

Check out pictures of the bridge during its construction and renovations in the slideshow below, courtesy of the Bay Bridge Public Information Office, the San Francisco History Center and Caltrans:

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