Bridging the Bay logo

Antioch Bridge
Carquinez Bridge
Dumbarton Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge
Richmond-San Rafael Bridge
San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge
Unbuilt Projects

Bridging the Bay home

UC Berkeley Library

San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge header


Charles H. Purcell (1883-1951) was educated in civil engineering at Stanford University and specialized in bridge design. In 1927, he was appointed as California’s State Highway Engineer, a post he held until 1942. While he presided over many notable projects in California, including the building of the first freeways, nothing occupied his skills and time as thoroughly as the Bay Bridge. In 1929, Purcell had been appointed technical advisor to the Hoover-Young Commission and in 1931, Governor Jim Rolph appointed him Chief Engineer of the Bay Bridge.
Charles H. Purcell
Purcell drew his leadership team chiefly from the Division of Highways along with an advisory board that included the most respected bridge engineers in the nation. Upon completion, the San Francisco - Oakland Bay Bridge was renowned for being the longest and most expensive bridge ever built ($77,600,000).  More than 6,500 employees worked on the project that was completed several months ahead of schedule.


Design & Construction | Cable Spinning
Autos & Trains | Charles H. Purcell | Celebration
Introduction | Related Links | Acknowledgements

Copyright © 1999 UC Berkeley Library
Data owner: R. Brandt
Updated 12/9/99