What a grand time we all had at the California Historical Society’s opening reception for their exhibit – A Wild Flight of the Imagination: The Story of the Golden Gate Bridge. All 700 of us enjoyed an afternoon of music by the Frisky Frolics, attendees in 1930s fashions, a line of beautiful classic cars parked outside and of course the exhibit itself, which celebrates the 75th anniversary of the bridge’s opening and is ongoing through October 14, 2012.
We love our Golden Gate, but I don’t think many of us stop to consider the bridge’s history. There were folks in favor of the bridge like the oil companies, and plenty of opposers such as the Sierra Club. San Francisco residents and politicians were also at odds and there was a special election held for voters. This exhibit gives viewers a rare opportunity to learn the whole story as well as get a peek into what life was like in the area before the bridge.
When my beau and I arrived at the reception this past Sunday afternoon excitement was already brewing with a line of people waiting to get into the Exhibition Gallery alongside picketing Golden Gate Bridge workers. (Workers have been negotiating a new contract since July 2011 and are protesting outside the various GGB celebration events scheduled this year.)
Once inside attendees mingled and perused displays of bridge photographs, area landscapes, artwork, bridge artifacts, newspaper clippings, and propaganda for and against the building of the bridge. My favorite find was a scrapbook belonging to San Francisco teenager Catherine Cline. Catherine devoted eight pages of her scrapbook to the building of the bridge. She pasted newspaper clippings, party invitations, and hand written notes inside her book, all reflecting enthusiasm for a momentous occasion in the city’s history.
Exhibit curator Jessica Hough donned a lovely black and white 1930s knit suit. Anthea Hartig, California Historical Society Executive Director gave a nod to the bridge with her vintage International Orange knit suit. Both ladies were dressed by avid vintage collector Kristin Werner, who also helped promote the event.
Laurie Gordon from the Art Deco Society of California was there speaking to the press as were a few Decobelles, who posed for photos and danced with attendees. The ADSC was a co-sponsor of the event and is also working closely with the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District on other upcoming festivities.
In honor of the bridge’s jubilee year, I’ve been sporting a steel pin etched with a depiction of the bridge. A find on Etsy, the little treasure dates from 1937. For the reception I attached it to my vintage felt hat (see photo above).
Among the chatting and discussions about the exhibit, I heard a lot of buzz about the 2012 Art Deco Society Preservation Ball at Bimbo’s coming up on May 5th. The theme for this year’s ball is of course, the Golden Gate Bridge and people are already planning their special 1930s ensembles.
Congratulations to the California Historical Society and everyone who worked so hard on this fabulous exhibition.
A Wild Flight of the Imagination: The Story of the Golden Gate Bridge at the California Historical Society, 678 Mission Street, SF.