1. 1937: The Golden Gate Bridge opens for pedestrians
More than 200,000 people showed up to the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge on this day back in 1937. Construction had began January of 1933 and at the time of completion it was the longest suspension bridge in the world at 4,200 feet. The bridge was made to connect the San Francisco and Marin counties and it spans the narrow strait known as the “Golden Gate” so its not just a clever name. The main engineer, Joseph Strauss had battled city officials and many others for nearly 16 years to make the project happen. The day it was finished he gave a speech were he pointed out all the naysayers saying “The Bridge which could not and should not be built, which the War Department would not permit, Which the Rocky Foundation of the pier base would not support, which would have no traffic to justify it, which would ruin the beauty of the Golden Gate, which could not be completed within my cost estimate of $27,165,000 stands before you in all its majestic splendor, complete refutation of every attack made upon it.” I Thought that was pretty clever. Roughly 18,000 people had arrived as early as 6 a.m. to be one of the first people to walk across the new bridge. The following day the bridge was opened for vehicle traffic and more than 32,000 crossed by the end of the day.
2. 1941: The mighty Bismarck Battleship is sunk
It was on this day back in 1941 that Hitler’s state of the art battleship, the Bismarck was sunk in the Atlantic Near France. The Germans were attempting to get the massive 823ft long battleship out into open ocean where it could wreak havoc on the allied convoys coming to the aid of Great Britain. However the ocean routes were heavily guarded by the Brits and on May 24th two battle cruisers, the Hood and the Prince of Whales intercepted the Bismarck near Iceland. Even though they outnumbered the Bismark it still managed to escape after it had destroyed and sunk the Hood leaving only three survivors out of the 1,421 crewmen on board. But the courageous Englishman did manage to do a substantial amount of damage to the Nazi war ship that was thought to be unbeatable. Two of the fuel tanks were damaged so the ship was leaking fuel at a drastic rate so the ships commander set course for France. On May 26th British aircraft managed to track it down and inflict some damage on the wounded ship. The following day it was intercepted, only this time by three British battleships and they were able to finish the job that the men of the Hood and Prince of Whales had started.
3. 1963: Bob Dylan releases his second album that would put him on the map
When famous musician Bob Dylan released his first album in 1962 there were only two original songs on it, and in no way would you consider it a success. But however on this day in 1963 he debut his second release, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan he would set what would be come the standard of modern day music as he wrote all the music and lyrics giving the listener some insight to his talents as a songwriter. The interesting thing about Dylan’s music was that it was all written from a distinctly personal point of view and so people were able to connect with that. Many other musicians would follow suit, some even singing his material, Peter, Paul and Mary took the song “Blowing in The Wind” to the top of the charts as an international pop hit. It was once reported in an interview with legendary musician John Lennon, that about a year after the release of THe Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan album it finally found its way to the Beatles and they listened to it for three straight weeks. That’s gotta say something when the most popular band in the world give you that kinda credit.