Coit Tower

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Located atop Telegraph Hill, the fluted 1933 tower is the legacy of Lillie Hitchcock Coit, a wealthy eccentric who left San Francisco a $125,000 bequest “for the purpose of adding beauty to the city I have always loved.” Though many believe the tower is a hose-shaped homage to San Francisco firefighters (Coit had been saved from a fire as a child and became a lifelong fan and mascot for Knickerbocker Engine Co. #5), it’s merely an expression of her esteem; a memorial to firefighters lies down below in Washington Square Park. Inside the base of the tower are impressive and somewhat radical (by 1930s standards) Depression-era WPA murals depicting California agriculture, industry, and the city’s leftist leanings (check out the socialist references in the library and on the newsstands). Recently restored, the frescoes are the collaborative effort of more than 25 artists, many of whom studied under Mexican muralist Diego Rivera. From the top, the observation tower offers panoramic views of the city and the bay.

Place Categories: Attractions

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