Historical Photo: The Golden Gate Bridge in 1968

This beautiful, newly-discovered photo of San Francisco shows the Golden Gate Bridge in 1968. It was shot on Kodak’s legendary Kodachrome film, and was just recently restored and digitized. The span of the Golden Gate Bridge is visible on a beautiful, sunny day with wispy clouds.

You can see the city side of the bridge, and it’s cut off at mid-span. There are a few sailboats cruising under the bridge as well. The clouds in the sky above the bridge provide some beautiful contrast and circular patterns.

The photo appears to have been taken on a boat in San Francisco bay, right by Alcatraz Island. It’s likely this was a tourist sightseeing boat. Not too much has changed about this scene between when the photo was taken more than 50 years ago and today. The bridge looks essentially the same, and is still painted its iconic shade of International Orange.

You might even think this photo was taken recently, if you didn’t know its historical origins. One element gives away its age, though. The person visible in the foreground looking towards the bridge has an iconic 1960s male crew cut. His jacket–and even the fact that he’s wearing a formal jacket and shirt while on a tourist cruise–clue us in to the fact that the photo was taken in the 1960s.

Otherwise, it’s a reminder that much about San Francisco has stayed the same over time. It’s also a reminder of the beauty of Kodachrome, which still has crisp, vibrant colors after more than 50 years. It’s the perfect way to preserve this little slice of San Francisco’s history.

Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a food and travel photographer and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His photographic work routinely appears in publications including Food and Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, and the New York Times and his writing appears in IEEE Spectrum, SFGate, the Bold Italic and more. Smith holds a degree in Cognitive Science (Neuroscience) and Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University.

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