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Associated Oil Bridge Construction Folio – 1935

16 Views of GG Bridge Construction
(PowerPoint - 764k)

Bonds to Finance Proposed Golden Gate Bridge – 1930

Photo: USS California Passes Under the Golden Gate Bridge

Photo: Pan-American Clipper Passes Over the Golden Gate Bridge

Photo: Construction of the Golden Gate Bridge South Tower

Photo: Joseph Strauss and the Golden Gate Bridge Designers – 1930

Bay Bridge Smashups Spur Planning Conference – 1940

Symphonies in Steel: Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate, by John McGloin, S.J.

Story Behind Building the Golden Gate Bridge

Toll Rates and General Golden Gate Bridge Rules — 1937


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Original Golden Gate Bridge Rivet

Golden Gate Bridge Prints


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Associated Oil Company’s Bridge Construction Folios

San Francisco’s Associated Oil Company commissioned a series of pictorial folders to record the construction progress of the Golden Gate, and San Francisco-Oakland bridge projects, beginning in 1934. There are three photographs of each bridge. The company was then headquartered at 79 New Montgomery Street, near Mission Street, in downtown San Francisco.

Photographs for six of these folios were taken in 1934-35, and the folios themselves were copyright 1935. Each folio consists of one 8 x 10 photograph, with text, to explain some technical detail of the pictured bridge construction. The photographers are not identified.


Folio 1, titled Challenge, shows the Marin Tower of the Golden Gate Bridge as it appeared during January 1934. Text explains that Associated’s products, Flying A gasoline and Cycol oil, were extensively used by contractors building both bridges.

Folio 2 is a photograph of the western-most tower of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge at Pier 24 in San Francisco. The photograph was taken aboard the Associated tanker S.S. Midway May 2, 1934. There is no explanatory text.

Folio 3, titled Colossus of the Pacific, shows two aerial closeup views of Golden Gate Bridge construction at San Francisco’s Fort Point. Text gives details of construction, and size of fenders used to hold back seawater during installation of the piers.

Folio 4, titled The March of Steel, is an aerial view of the length of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, with text explanation of piers W-1 through W-6. Aerial photograph also shows the cities of Oakland and Berkeley.

Folio 5, titled Ayala’s Return,is an aerial view of the Golden Gate Bridge during construction, with a panorama of the western portion of San Francisco. There is brief historical text on the exploration of San Francisco Bay by Don Juan Manual Ayala in 1775.

Folio 6, titled Impossible..., is a spectacular panorama of San Francisco, the Bay, and the entire pathway of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge from the East Bay to the city. Some technical data about pier depths and underlying soil conditions are also given.


U.S.S. California. There are five additional aerial photographs not part of the Associated Oil series, but of interest. The first is of the U.S.S. California as it passed under the Golden Gate Bridge a few weeks before the roadbed of the structure was completed. This is a U.S. Navy photograph.

U.S.S. Akron photographs Bay Bridge construction, dates from mid July 1935. This is a panorama of the Bay taken from high above the Oakland-Berkeley hills and shows construction progress.

U.S.S. Akron photograph of Yerba Buena Island, shows details of the Yerba Buena Tunnel construction as seen from the dirigible.

Pan American Clipper over the Golden Gate Bridge dates from about mid-1936, with a portion of the roadway completed. Photo by Clyde Sunderland.

Pan American Clipper over the Bay Bridge also dates from mid-1936, and the photograph is also by Clyde Sunderland. Most of the roadway is complete, and approaches to the Yerba Buena tunnel are under construction. Note that Treasure Island had not been created when this photo was taken.


There are other photographs taken in the same era which show construction activities for the Golden Gate and San Francisco Bay bridges. They include:

South Tower of the Golden Gate Bridge under construction. This is a later, but somewhat same view, as seen in folio 3, and shows the casement for construction of the south tower. The north, or Marin tower, was nearing completion when this photograph was taken. The photograph is not credited.


Construction of the San Francisco Viaduct to the Bay Bridge dates from July 1935, and shows the demolition of a South-of-Market block for the viaduct’s footings. This and the following three photographs were credited to the California Department of Public Works.

San Francisco Viaduct construction, shows the same South-of-Market area as the preceding photograph. This photograph was taken Sept. 11, 1935.

Rincon Hill roadway construction, shows pouring of concrete for one of the onramps near the crest of the flattened Rincon Hill. View also includes the Embarcadero and waterfront—the scene of bloody clashes between police and the 1934 general strikers.

Demolition of the block between Second and Third streets, for the San Francisco Viaduct, is seen in this panoramic view.


For more information about construction of the bridges, as well as Treasure Island, see John McGloin’s “Symphonies in Steel: Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate.”
Go to Folio 1

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