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For its 75th anniversary, an oral history project for the Bay Bridge*

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

From the better-late-than-never department: UC Berkeley is launching an oral history project aimed at telling the story of the Bay Bridge—75 years old and counting since last November—through the eyes of workers who built it. But how many of them are left? Do the math: A 25-year-old who was on the job at the end of the project in 1937 would be . . . that’s right, 100.

[In fairness, the project's scope isn't confined only to folks who may have worked on the bridge or who were present at, say, the dedication ceremony. They're hunting for people who can contribute to knowledge of the bridge's legacy, from construction until the present.] The bridge opened to traffic Nov. 12, 1936, and the year-long 75th anniversary celebration still has events planned through November.

Here’s an excerpt from the Contra Costa Times about the Bridges and the San Francisco Bay Oral History Project, whose director is historian Sam Redman:
The goal of the interviews is to capture personal experiences of those who were there.
"We'd like to explore the people who worked on the bridge and are hoping to get their stories," Redman said, adding that while many of those involved in the bridge's earliest phase have passed from the scene, "there were many people -- including children -- who were at the opening ceremony."

Images: (Top) Bay Bridge under construction, 1935, San Francisco History Center, SF Public Library; (Below) a water-level view of the West Span construction, also 1935, photo by Joseph Marty.
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