It’s a different experience in the evening, when the crowds have dissolved and you can enjoy the twinkling SF lights over the bay
This 64m tower can be found in the Telegraph Hill neighbourhood of San Francisco. Rising up above Pioneer’s Park, it was built in 1933 at the behest of Lillie Hitchcock Coit’s will. She left one third of her not insignificant estate for the civic beautification of her adored city. Just one of the things her generosity sponsored was this memorial tower.
Woman of the People
Built in the art deco style, the tower is made of unpainted reinforced concrete. There is an apocryphal story that the tower was built to resemble a fire hose nozzle, on account of Coit’s close affinity to the San Francisco firefighters of the day. However, apparently the resemblance is simply a coincidence.
Throughout her life Lillie Hitchcock Coit was recognised as an honorary firefighter. She was a wealthy socialite and one of the more eccentric figures in the San Francisco social scene. She chomped cigars and wore trousers long before they were considered socially acceptable things for women to do. From a young age she had chased the fires and firemen around town, and even today she is the matron saint of SF firefighters.
The tower itself is wrapped around with 1930s depression-era murals glorifying SF workers. Thanks to that public art, it was once denounced as communist, but is now a treasured landmark in the city. From the top you get extraordinary 360-degree panoramas of the downtown area and waterfront.
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