Alapan Links Archives About alapan

Golden Gate Bridge Opening Fiesta May 27, 1937

Golden Gate Bridge Opening Fiesta May 27, 1937

Today marks the 70th Anniversary of the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge. Obviously this photograph was not taken by me but it is an original photograph that I scanned. The photograph was from the collection of Tatsume Iwate the grandfather of a friend’s ex who passed away a few years ago. From what I can tell he was a amateur photographer and had a collection of negatives that date back to his family’s arrival here in San Francisco from Japan in the early 1900’s. I do have some photos that I scanned that shows the boat that he arrived in. What I’m not sure of is if this photograph was passed on to him or if he was the one that photographed it. I’ll never find out as I don’t have any contact with the family. More after the jump with a photograph of the bridge on opening day.

Golden Gate Bridge Opening Fiesta May 27 II

Mr. Iwate was a World War II vet and a Sargent in the 442 Regimental Combat Troop , a highly regarded and decorated Japanese American combat troop known for their bravery & honor despite the fact that they were extremely discriminated against and their family members were interned by the US government. Via the link he was injured in France.

Now the question is how did I end up with these photographs. Well the family did not want them and were going to throw all of them away. Among the things they were going to throw out were original paintings and one in particular was a portrait of a Japanese American woman while she was interned in the camps. Needless to say I kept it and it’s hanging in our bedroom as we speak. In addition to the paintings and photographs, they were also going to throw out Mr. Iwate’s Army uniform, a medal (I suspect it was a Purple Heart as he was injured but I can’t recall for sure) and letters he wrote to his brother in one of the camps in Colorado while he overseas fighting the war. I also kept those and donated all of them to the Japanese American Museum in Los Angeles. I’m perplexed as to why they wanted to throw all this out. I don’t know what they managed to throw away before I got it and I’m hoping I got most of it. I’ll never know and I’m glad I kept what I did. I’ll most likely post them on Flickr as I start scanning them as I have a variety of photographs.

POTD: Archive photographs of the Golden Gate Bridge from the San Francisco Chronicle.

4 comments to “Golden Gate Bridge Opening Fiesta May 27, 1937”

  1. John, my dear friend. Seeing Iwate’s photographs and considering the origin’s deep personal history, i’m not quite sure how to react when i saw these pictures and sadly remembered how they were acquired. Part of me opened some scarred wounds that i’m trying to heal for the past year and half. And part of me was i am glad these precious items ended up with someone who saw their second life and see to it that they will be remembered by the next generation of humanity. I have to remind myself to celebrate the great works this man has created, not to be tainted by this man’s blood relation in my past. You are right about the treasures of creation discovered that day in his house, it was remarkable and humbling.

  2. Hey, I read your blog about the Golden Gate Bridge and thought it was
    really cool! Allow me to introduce myself, I’m Clark and I work for Ariel
    Publicity. We represent an artist named Noah Griffin who has recently
    recorded the Official Ballad of the Golden Gate bridge. The purpose of
    this song is to honor the 70th Anniversary of The Golden Gate Bridge. Noah
    Griffin pays homage with an eloquent tribute of verse and song alongside a
    breathtaking documentary of this architectural marvel. Noah is widely considered the unofficial singer of his hometown; prior to the Golden Gate Bridge Ballad, he performed at the Opening of BART, the 100th Anniversary of the Cable Cars, the 80th, the 90th, and the 100th anniversary of the 1906 earthquake, and the Opening of PacBell Park.

    If you might be interested, Noah would be pleased to do an interview with you so you can feature it in your blog or we’d love to contest/giveaways to reward your readers. Please get back to me if you’d like to discuss this further.

    Clark Starace
    (212) 239-8384

    Clark Starace
  3. I was wondering if it would be possible to purchase a copy of your golden gate bridge opening day photo? I’ve been looking for a photo of the opening day that displays the Fiesta flags as I have one of the original Fiesta flags that was flown during the fiesta as well as an opening day pass. Your photo would go great with the flag which I’m in the process of framing. As you can tell, I’m a Golden Gate Bridge fan. Thanks you in advanced for any assistance you can offer. Phil Carr

    Phil Carr
  4. I came across your website while looking for a photo of the opening day of the Golden Gate Bridge. I wanted to send a copy to my father, Roger Lane (on his 88th birthday), who was the first pedestrian to arrive at the other end following its opening.
    According to Roger, this was a big day for Marin County track athletes back then to see who would be first to sprint across the bridge and Roger Lane beat them all! Later In 1940, Roger Lane from San Rafael High School won first place at the California State Track Meet in the 880 yard run. To this day he is still the only male track athlete in all of Marin County to take a first place in any track event at the State Meet and it took over 30 years for his half mile record to be broken at San Rafael High… this said for anyone who may have any doubts as to his speed and his “first to cross the Golden Gate bridge” title, ha!

    David Lane

Comments are appreciated