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Coit Tower, San Francisco
Coit Tower history
The tower, located on top of Telegraph Hill, has gotten its name from its founder; Lillie Hitchcock Coit.
An “unladylike” lady
She was an eccentric San Francisco personality, known for her support of the local firemen. She is said to sometimes volunteer as a firefighter and ride along with the firemen, a behavior many regarded as “unladylike” during her era. She ignored these people as she had the money to live her life as she pleased. She donated much of that money to assisting the firefighters in the city.
After her death, one third of her fortune was donated to the city. In her will, she stated that the donation was "to be expended in an appropriate manner for the purpose of adding to the beauty of the city which I have always loved"
The Coit Tower
The result is the beautiful 64 meters high tower that stands today. The construction of the tower started in 1933 and finished 5 years later. The main architect was Arthur Brown Jr., the same man who designed the magnificent San Francisco City Hall.
By looking at the towe, one will see that its shape and form is very similar to a fire hose nozzle. However, according to the architect himself and contrary to popular opinion, the tower was not designed with this in mind.
Why visit Coit Tower ?
The beautiful Coit Tower is one of the landmarks of San Francisco. The Coit Tower is made of unpainted reinforced concrete, which gives it its white color. Inside, visitors can find several wall paintings made by artists from the Public Works of Art Project. These paintings date back to the early 1930ies.
The 26 artists responsible for the frescos all agreed on using the same painting technique in order to make the paintings match. By looking at the paintings, visitors will see that many of them have a somewhat socialist theme. They depict the struggles of working class Americans and working people during the depression.
The frescos originate from a time where the American Socialist movement was at its height. Depression related economic challenges led to much discussion about alternate forms of government and worker strikes were not uncommon.
The paintings caused a lot of controversy as they were deemed too left wing. Some of them even got destroyed, including one featuring an image of Lenin and another one featuring a hammer and a sickle. This controversy even delayed the grand opening of the tower several months.
Today, the paintings are considered to be one of California's best examples of depression-era public art. Due to their historic significance, the murals are now protected as a historical treasure.
Another beautiful view can be attained from the top of the tower. In a city known for its great views and vantage points, the great Coit Tower is one of the very best.
The top of the Coit Tower provides a spectacular 360° view over San Francisco. From the great observation platform visitors can see most of San Francisco, including the Golden Gate Bridge, the Aquatic Park, Alcatraz, Treasure Island and the whole Financial District.
Coit Tower location
The Coit Tower is located in western United States, in San Francisco, California. The tower is situated in Pioneer Park, on top of Telegraph Hill. Due to the extreme topography, the parking lot at the top of the hill is only accessible by one road. For this reason, getting to the tower by car can be tricky. Taking public transport of going by foot is other alternatives.
For the exact location of the Coit Tower, check out the location map to the right!
Coit Tower resources
Interactive location map. For a larger and more detailed map, check out our US map.
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