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History

The Doyle Drive Historic Corridor

Frank Pierce Doyle<< back

DURING THE 1930s AND 1940s, no single person was described as the “father of the Golden Gate Bridge” more often than Santa Rosa banker Frank Pierce Doyle. This was especially true in the northern California counties, from Marin to the Oregon border, that joined with San Francisco to organize the Golden Gate Bridge and Highway District (GGB&HD). During the early 1920s, Frank P. Doyle was the president of the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce and worked to support highway and road development in northern California and the building of Redwood Highway (modern-day U.S. 101).

Chief engineer Joseph B. Strauss (left) and bridge promoter Frank P. Doyle (right), 1927.

Chief engineer Joseph B. Strauss (left) and bridge promoter Frank P. Doyle (right), 1927.San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library

Composite photo of Frank P. Doyle (left) and Santa Rosa Dodge dealer J. H. Williams (right) with the first private car to cross the Golden Gate Bridge, 1937.
Composite photo of Frank P. Doyle (left) and Santa Rosa Dodge dealer J. H. Williams (right) with the first private car to cross the Golden Gate Bridge, 1937. Courtesy Sonoma County Museum

Frank P. Doyle cuts a chain with an acetylene torch at the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge on May 27, 1937.
Frank P. Doyle cuts a chain with an acetylene torch at the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge on May 27, 1937. Courtesy Sonoma County Library

DOYLE ORGANIZED THE CRITICAL JANUARY 13, 1923 MEETING at Santa Rosa City Hall that brought together influential engineers, business leaders and politicians from San Francisco and the northern counties who formed the Bridging the Golden Gate Association. Although engineer Joseph B. Strauss and San Francisco City Engineer Michael M. O’Shaughnessy had advocated spanning the Golden Gate for several years, Doyle’s meeting launched the organized campaign to connect Redwood Highway with San Francisco via a bridge across the mile-wide Golden Gate.

DOYLE WAS THE LEADER of the business and civic figures whose promotional efforts were essential to the passage of the $35 million bond issue in November 1930 that financed the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge. To help stimulate the depressed California economy, in 1932 Amadeo Giannini had his Bank of America begin purchasing what would eventually amount to the entire bond issue.

WHILE INSPECTING THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE several months before its official opening, Doyle was invited to turn his car over to a bridge worker who made the bridge’s first automobile crossing. Representing the Redwood Empire Association, Doyle cut one of three chains that officially opened the Golden Gate Bridge in May of 1937, during a ceremony attended by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In 1940, the GGB&HD Board of Directors named the Golden Gate Bridge approach road from Marina Boulevard to the Toll Plaza “Doyle Drive.”

Doyle worked tirelessly to organize the Golden Gate Bridge and Highway District in the 1920s.

 

 

 
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