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Welcome to Coit Tower at Pioneer Park

Coit Tower at Pioneer Park

Flute reinforced concrete column topped by arches.

Rises 180' above Pioneer Park on Telegraph Hill.

Shaft is 18' narrower in diameter at the top to avoid looking top heavy.

The base contains famous murals, a 1934 Public Works of Art Project, and a shop, originally designed as a tearoom.

Observation Gallery at the top offers magnificent views.

The simple vertical design by architect Henry Howard in the firm of Arthur Brown Jr., who designed San Francisco's City Hall and Opera Hous, created a monumental statement on a small site, complementing the proportions af the hill.

Coit Tower with its symmetrical simplicity and sleek linearism successfully unites Classicism and Art Decco.

Pioneer Park - Donated to San Francisco in 1876

Coit Tower - Completed in 1933

Lillie Hitchcock Coit

1843 - 1929

Coit Tower was built as a monument thanks to the legacy of Lillie Coit, who bequeathed $118,000, a third of her estate, to San Francisco for:

"The purpose of adding beauty to the City which I have always loved."

Lillie Hitchcock was seven when she came to San Francisco with her wealthy Kentuky parents in 1851. She was saved from a tragic fire by the volunteers of the Knickerbocker Engine Co. #5. Later seeing firemen struggling up Telegraph Hill, she dropped her schoolbooks and joined them. She became the Knickerbocker #5 mascot and rarely missed a blaze.

Lillie lived a flamboyant life in San Francisco, married Howard Coit of Telegraph Hill against her family's wishes, smoked cigars and often drassed as a man to gamble in North Beach saloons. When an envious relative tried to shoot her and a friend who rushed to protect her was killed, Lillie fled to Paris.

In 1923, after years in Europe, where she was a favorite of the Court of Napoleon III, she returned to her beloved San Francisco where she died in 1929 at age 88.

(Click the image to view a larger version.)

Corin Anderson |
These pictures from: December 11th, 2004