1936 Bay Bridge opening plaque uncovered

Original Bay Bridge plaque

September 3, 2013 7:29:44 AM PDT
Dirt and soot and the passing of time have covered up a little remembered part of Bay Area history -- the plaque commemorating the 1936 opening of the original Bay Bridge.

It was placed on the center anchorage -- sitting astride the westbound fast lane on the western half of the bridge. The grandson of Bay Bridge architect John J. Donovan said his grandfather enjoyed certain perks.

"For years after the bridge was open that his family--my grandmother, himself, his children...we never paid the bridge toll. We got to just go on the bridge," said Donovan.

During the original Bay Bridge opening, it was blessed by Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli from the Vatican, who three years later would become Pope Pius XII.