Twenty-five years ago, 300,000 people swarmed San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge to celebrate the landmark's 50th anniversary. Urban legend has long held there were so many people on the bridge that day, it nearly collapsed. "Then it got kind of scary, because we realized we were trapped," says a local resident who was on the bridge that day. "We were standing there, and then I said to my friend, 'Dude, this bridge is moving.' " But although it did sag some 7 feet from the incredible weight, there actually was little danger of the bridge collapsing, reports the San Jose Mercury News.
"It was probably the biggest load the bridge had ever seen," said an engineer. "But it did not exceed the design load capacity of the bridge." The Golden Gate Bridge is designed to handle about 5,700 pounds per foot; people blanketing the bridge can add up to around 5,400 pounds per foot, but engineers say they typically over-engineer to allow for 150% of the maximum. Today is the 75th anniversary of the iconic bridge, and, despite all the engineer assurances, this time city officials are not permitting pedestrians to swarm it again. "It's just not wise, " says the district chief engineer. (Read more San Francisco stories.)