From the tallest buildings to the most spectacular glass facades to Major League Baseball ballparks, construction creates all kinds of inspiring structures. What our customers and the rest of the industry are able to accomplish never ceases to amaze us.

Whether a structure is new or old, the history behind how it was built is always fascinating. Instead of looking at how a building was put up, we wanted to see how something was built across water. Here is the history behind three of the most famous bridges in the U.S.

Brooklyn Bridge (New York)

brooklyn bridge

Built: 1883

Cost: $15.5 million

History:

  • The Brooklyn Bridge was designed by John Augustus Roebling, who spent 15 years trying to sell the idea. In 1867, the New York State Senate finally passed a bill to build a bridge going from Brooklyn to Manhattan.
  • Construction of the bridge began in 1869. To build the two towers, they floated two caissons, giant upside-down boxes made of southern yellow pine, in the East River. The stone towers were built on top of them until they sank to the bottom of the river. The towers are made out of limestone, granite, and Rosendale cement.
  • Even though it’s considered a suspension bridge, the Brooklyn Bridge used a hybrid cable-stayed/suspension design. It became a National Historic Landmark in 1964 and was named a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 1972.

Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco)

golden gate bridge

Built: 1937

Cost: $100 million

History:

  • The Golden Gate Bridge was designed by Chicago-based engineer Joseph Strauss and his team. It cost $35.5 million to build.
  • The bridge is 1.7 miles long and 90 feet wide. Construction started in 1933 and was opened to the public in 1937. They had to excavate 3.25 million cubic feet of dirt to build the bridge’s 12-story-tall anchorages.
  • Painted “International Orange,” the Golden Gate Bridge is believed to be the most photographed bridge in the world and was named one of the seven civil engineering wonders of the United States by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Bixby Creek Bridge (Big Sur)

bixby creek bridge

Built: 1932

Cost: $199.8 million

History:

  • Before the Bixby Creek Bridge was built, during the winter months, residents were virtually cut off from going inland because of blockages on Old Coast Road.
  • It took two months to construct a 250-foot high falsework with 300,000 board feet of timber to build the arch. Due to high winds, the falsework was difficult to raise, and at one point construction had to be halted due to storms.
  • Concrete was used to build the bridge because it would reduce construction and maintenance costs, and the color would also blend into the natural rock formations. It’s still one of the tallest single-span concrete bridges in the world.

Interested in more history? See how the 3 tallest buildings in the U.S. were built.