Taking a closer look at cable cars, Golden Gate Bridge, the Presidio

February 1, 2006

San Francisco is well known for a multitude of cultural and historic reasons, some notorious — for instance, Alcatraz and earthquakes — but most more welcoming. Dermatology Times decided to take a closer look at three famous San Francisco attractions.

San Francisco is well known for a multitude of cultural and historic reasons, some notorious - for instance, Alcatraz and earthquakes - but most more welcoming. Dermatology Times decided to take a closer look at three famous San Francisco attractions.

Cable cars

It's hard to think of San Francisco - not to mention Rice-A-Roni - without an image of cable cars coming to mind. These symbols and San Francisco have a long and colorful history.

Most of this system was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake, after which a municipal railway system replaced most of the cable car lines.

Although originally put into use for practical reasons, cable cars have become a symbol of San Francisco. They are the only vehicles of their kind still in active use, and are designated National Landmarks. To this day, they provide transportation to some of the city's most popular areas.

You can ride the cable cars for a fare. Each car holds about 60 people - but you may have to stand in line before you can climb aboard.

The Golden Gate Bridge

Although many thought its construction was impossible, the Golden Gate Bridge's engineer and builder, Joseph Strauss, saw it as a viable solution to congested ferry travel across San Francisco Bay. His persistence paid off, and the bridge opened for business in 1937.

Designed to withstand winds as high as 100 mph, the middle section of the bridge may move as much as 27 feet. The two great cables that suspend it are composed of 80,000 miles of steel wire. It took more than four years and $35 million to build the Golden Gate Bridge, and cost 12 construction workers their lives (a figure actually less than half the average of the times). For many years, this San Francisco landmark was considered the longest suspension bridge - at 1.2 miles - in the world.

It may frequently be shrouded in fog, but that doesn't stop the Golden Gate Bridge from being one of the most visible landmarks in the world.

The Presidio

For thousands of years, the Presidio was home to the Ohlone Native American people. Over the millennia, it saw the arrival of military forces, first with the Spanish, then the Mexicans and finally the U.S. Army in 1846. Today, it is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and encompasses nearly 1,500 acres.

In 1998, the Presidio Trust took over partial management of most of the buildings and grounds, and today, the Presidio is the only monetarily self-sufficient national park site in the country.

In addition to its rich history, the park offers access to more than 500 historical buildings, a collection of coastal defense fortifications, a national cemetery, a historic airfield and natural beauties such as saltwater marshes, native plants, coastal bluffs, miles of hiking and biking trails, and unequaled scenic beauty.

For more information on these and other San Francisco attractions and landmarks, check out the San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau at http://www.sfvisitor.org/ or call 415-391-2000 or 415-392-0328 (TDD).

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