Today we are blessed with celebrating the 75th birthday of our marvelous Golden Gate Bridge! When the span opened in 1937, many of the bay area’s diverse ethnic groups participated in public celebrations held right on the span. Among the Russian community’s contingents in the opening ceremonies was my mother, Olga Mamontoff, 24, who emigrated to San Francisco a decade earlier with her sister and parents. By now Olga was studying classical voice and just a few years later would go on to perform at the War Memorial Opera House. The Golden Gate represented a major achievement in engineering and offered a new freedom for enjoying life in California. For immigrants like my mother, arriving in San Francisco was a major achievement which offered the freedom to live, prosper, and pursue your dreams.
Happy birthday Golden Gate Bridge from Russians old and new!
(Photo: Olga Mamontoff performing at SF’s Opera House, 1940. You can find some of Olga’s original Russian recipes in Drinks & Zakuski by Maria Lobanovsky.)