Coit Tower in San Francisco

Coit Tower

Built expressly to beautify the city of San Francisco, Coit Tower sits atop Telegraph Hill as a memorial to the vision of its endower: Lillie Hitchcock Coit. Ms. Coit was a well-known volunteer firefighter, a benefactress to the city, and an eccentric resident of North Beach who was notorious for her antics and affinity for firefighters. She reputedly felt a strong kinship with San Francisco, and when she died in 1929, she left one-third of her estate for the beautification of her beloved city.

Architects Arthur Brown, Jr., designer of the San Francisco City Hall, and Henry Howard are responsible for designing the reinforced concrete tourist attraction, which features the art deco styling that has become synonymous with the 1930s.

Coit Tower in San Francisco

Situated between the Financial District and Fisherman’s Wharf, Coit Tower was built in 1933 as a memorial to Ms. Coit and the San Francisco firemen. The area the tower sits upon was bought by some local businessmen in 1867 to protect it from development; it was later donated to the city on the understanding that it would become Pioneer Park. Today, Coit Tower rests in the midst of the park overlooking and protecting this great city.

Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill

Despite the Tower’s fame, the most interesting thing about this structure is not the building itself, but rather what’s inside of it. The interior is covered in gigantic murals, mostly depicting the hardships Californians experienced during the Great Depression. In addition, the tower’s observation platform rewards its visitors with a matchless panoramic view of the city. When next in San Francisco, walk up the scenic Filbert Steps to this historic spot and take in the view. In the meantime, I hope you have enjoyed these photos.

-Benjamin Wey


~ by Benjamin Wey on March 11, 2008.

3 Responses to “Coit Tower in San Francisco”

  1. nice

  2. nice work, brother

  3. Thanks for the kind words. I must say that rarely am I more impressed by interior decoration than building architecture itself, but the murals within Coit Tower never fail to fascinate me. I’ll have to write a post on them someday soon.

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