Saturday, April 11

Flowery prose from the past

This morning’s San Francisco Chronicle features a history of the Bay Bridge. They reproduce the front page of the paper from November 12, 1936 which has a story about the dedication and opening of the bridge. The story is written with such goopy saccharine-ness that I doubt that too many people today would fully comprehend it. Here are the first few paragraphs:

San Francisco today reaches deeply into the glory and tradition of its past to salute a milestone it has taken 100 years to reach—and ten times that many will have been folded away in history’s pages before another event of such vital import to its future will have come to pass.

The San Francisco-Oakland bay bridge will be opened.

Inspiration of dreams for nearly a century, it boldly holds its sinews of steel and columns of concrete against the heavens, a visible challenge to the forces of nature that decreed it should not be.


It stands stanchly [sic] above the deepest body of water ever spanned, the fulfillment of human will, courage and resourcefulness, one more prideful step in an indomitable progression that dates backward to the Garden of Eden and beckons the future illimitably.

Nature rimmed San Francisco bay with hills towering high, and gouged deeply down their flanks to create a reservoir of water. From prehistoric times, the rolling waves within the Golden Gate have defied the brains and brawn of man.

Some were awed, and beaten, at the gage thus flung.

Others took it up.

Today they accept the conquerors’ acolade [sic] and dedicate the fruits of their victory to the common weal.

The bay bridge is a reality, mocking those who said it would never be.

There were a couple of typos, or maybe things were spelled differently in 1936. Either way, what would you expect from a newspaper that cost only a nickel?

Photo: San Francisco Chronicle

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