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Monday, May 28, 2012

Spanning Space and Time: The Golden Gate Bridge and the Transformation of the Bay Area

Thursday, May 31, 2012, 6:00pm

$8 admission for California Historical Society, San Francisco Architectural Heritage, or National Trust members

$12 admission for the general public

San Francisco Architectural Heritage, in partnership with the California Historical Society and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Western Office, will hold a symposium to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge. Panelists Gray Brechin, Catherine Powell, and Dick Walker will explore themes such as art, commerce, labor, and demographics that are typically overlooked in standard accounts of the Golden Gate Bridge, which have traditionally focused on the bridge’s importance as an engineering feat (one of the modern “Wonders of the World”). The symposium will be moderated by John King, urban design critic for the San Francisco Chronicle. A Q&A will follow the program and light refreshments and wine will be served. Click here to but tickets for Spanning Space and Time.

About the panelists:

Gray Brechin
Dr. Gray Brechin became an environmentalist when he first read Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring on its publication in 1962. Prior to receiving his Ph.D. from the UC Berkeley Department of Geography in 1998, he covered environmental and urban issues as a columnist and television producer in San Francisco. His published dissertation, Imperial San Francisco: Urban Power, Earthly Ruin, spent 16 weeks on the San Francisco Chronicle’s best-seller list and is considered a classic of urban studies. He is the founder of the Living New Deal project and a Visiting Scholar at the UCB Department of Geography where the Living New Deal is based.

John King
John King is the San Francisco Chronicle’s Urban Design Critic, a post he created in 2001, and the author of “Cityscapes: San Francisco and Its Buildings,” published in May 2011 by Heyday. His work also has appeared in Dwell, Metropolis, and The American Scholar. He is an honorary member of the American Society of Landscape Architects and recipient of awards from the California Preservation Foundation and the state chapters of the American Planning Association and the American Institute of Architects.

Catherine Powell
Catherine Powell is the Director of the Labor Archives and Research Center at San Francisco State University.  She currently serves on the executive board of the California Faculty Association and is a delegate the San Francisco Labor Council and chair of its Law and Legislative Committee. She is also coordinator of the Bay Area Labor History Workshop and a board member of the Fund for Labor Culture and History. Catherine is co-editor of The San Francisco Labor Landmarks Guide Book: A Register of Sites and Walking Tours.

Richard Walker
Richard Walker is professor of geography at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has taught for 35 years. Walker has written on a diverse range of topics in economic, urban, and environmental geography, with scores of published articles to his credit. He is co-author of The Capitalist Imperative (1989) and The New Social Economy(1992) and has written extensively on California, including The Conquest of Bread(2004) and The Country in the City (2007).   He is also PI of the Living New Deal Project to inventory all New Deal public works sites in the United States.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Yerba Buena Alliance Gallery Walk

Saturday, June 9, 2012, 3pm to 6pm

The Gallery Walk is an exciting way to explore the Yerba Buena and the artistic offerings in the neighborhood. The participating galleries offer a diverse look at contemporary, emerging, and established artists working in a variety of mediums. Start with a kick-off champagne reception at Visual Aid, 57 Post Street, Suite 905 from 2:00-3:00 pm. After the walk, enjoy the After Party at B Bar, 720 Howard Street where we will have a drawing for a grand prize. To see a listing of participating galleries, visit

A Wild Flight of the Imagination: The Story of the Golden Gate Bridge eBook

As hundreds of thousands of admirers of the Golden Gate Bridge begin to converge on the San Francisco Bay area to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the world-renowned icon, the California Historical Society has released its first multi-media eBook for iPads that captures the rich history and amazing story of the Bridge through a selection of rarely seen artwork, photographs, video, memorabilia, stories, images and much more.

The free iPad eBook, A Wild Flight of the Imagination: The Story of the Golden Gate Bridge, can be downloaded through the California Historical Society’s new, dynamic and image-rich website at  The app is also available on Apple's iTunes App Store as a free download under the name “GG Bridge.” 

Published by the California Historical Society and produced by Sol Editions and Wild Blue Studios, the eBook was funded through a grant provided by United Healthcare.

“The story of the Golden Gate Bridge is a remarkable one, captivating millions of people around the world with its themes of promise, innovation, perseverance, and artistic inspiration,” said Dr. Anthea Hartig, Executive Director of the California Historical Society. “This eBook will help share that story and bring the amazing history of this California icon to life in an interactive way.”

The eBook’s title is drawn from the exhibition of the same name currently on view at the California Historical Society galleries. The phrase is borrowed from a 1921 promotional prospectus for the Golden Gate Bridge in which the authors, chief engineer for the bridge Joseph Strauss and San Francisco city engineer M.M. O’Shaughnessy, used inspirational language to set a tone for the enormously ambitious engineering feat.

The interactive multimedia app extends the reach of the California Historical Society’s exhibition and makes over 350 historic objects, including dozens of photographs, letters, journals, reports and other ephemera from its own holdings and 19 other collections available to readers of all ages.
Highlights include photographs by Ansel Adams and Dorothea Lange, paintings by Maynard Dixon, Ray Strong, and Chesley Bonestell, and architectural drawings by Irving F. Morrow and John Eberson, the two architects who worked on the bridge design. Audio highlights include the heroic and poignant voices of men who built the bridge and an opening music selection from composer Rob Kapilow’s “Chrysopylae,” A Golden Gate Opus, written with contributions from sound designer Fred Newman.
Readers of all ages can also watch a short film of Chief Engineer Strauss speaking to a reporter on the bridge during construction, examine the family scrapbook of Fred Dummatzen, one of the workers who tragically lost his life when a scaffold collapsed, and even view some of the proposed bridge color schemes that were ultimately rejected.
“This exciting new format allows us to bring the richness of our historic collections to a much larger audience, including teachers and students, and will allow many more people around the world to share in the Golden Gate’s 75th Anniversary, even if they cannot be here in person,” Hartig said.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Golden Gate Bridge: Icon, Metaphor, Inspiration

Friday, May 25, 2012 from 6:00 PM

The Golden Gate Bridge: Icon, Metaphor, Inspiration

Free Event at the California Historical Society, 678 Mission Street, San Francisco, but RSVP required at

Kick off Memorial Day weekend by joining us at the galleries of the California Historical Society for an evening with John King, urban architecture critic for the San Francisco Chronicle. As part of continuing programming around the exhibition on display in the California Historical Society galleries through October 14 and the upcoming anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge, King will offer his musings on the majestic bridge. "We take the Golden Gate Bridge for granted, but what if it had never been built? Look past the marvelous architecture, wondrous engineering, and geographic splendor of the bridge, and another facet emerges. The Golden Gate Bridge is a cultural touchstone that allows us to contemplate how the risks taken by one generation reshaped the Bay Area in enduring ways." Although this event is free to the public, please RSVP to ensure that you will have a seat.