Inscribed Golden Gate Bridge bricks shattered

Locals came out to the southeast side of the Golden Gate Bridge and shed tears yesterday as jack hammers and backhoes tore up 7,500 commemorative bricks sold to donors decades ago.

An announcement was made on the bridge district’s website Friday, but it came as a surprise to people who spent up to $75 for the custom-inscribed bricks.

The bricks were  sold to the public to raise money for the bridge’s 50th anniversary in the late ’80s. They were inscribed with names, messages, signatures, and logos, and had become a source of local pride for the folks who felt they owned their own little piece of the Golden Gate.

“It would have been nice to have some notice,” said Lou Reilly, of San Rafael, who purchased one of the bricks for his wife, Sally, as a Valentine’s Day gift 25 years ago.

“She’s become quite sentimental about it,” Reilly told the IJ. “We would sometimes stop and look at it on the way back from Giants’ games. She would even clean it.”

The bricks made up a walkway near a slope just north of the Joseph Strauss statue that needs to be regraded to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Officials say the pathway is too steep and exceeds the slope requirement for disabled access to the nearby Bay Trail.

A 1987 brochure said the bricks were “expected to last for generations,” but it went on to say that “no specific warranty on permanence is made by the installer or the district.”

Well, all the bricks are gone now, but the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy plans to turn what’s left of them into concrete mix which will be used to create an outdoor panel with all of the 7,500 inscriptions listed.

The conservancy also took pictures of each brick before they were all destroyed. Those who want a photo of their brick can send email to info@goldengatebridge75.org.