Coit Tower, also known as the Lillian Coit Memorial Tower, is a 210-foot (64 m) tower in the Telegraph Hill neighborhood of San Francisco, California

Coit Tower was paid for with money left by Lillie Hitchcock Coit, a wealthy socialite who loved to chase fires in the early days of the city’s history. Before December 1866, there was no city fire department, and fires in the city, which broke out regularly in the wooden buildings, were extinguished by several volunteer fire companies. Lillie Coit was one of the more eccentric characters in the history of North Beach and Telegraph Hill, smoking cigars and wearing trousers long before it was socially acceptable for women to do so. She was an avid gambler and often dressed like a man in order to gamble in the males-only establishments that dotted North Beach.

Coit Tower was a prominent landscape feature in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 film, Vertigo, which was set largely in San Francisco. Art director Henry Bumstead, who worked on “Vertigo”, noted that Hitchcock himself was adamant that Coit Tower should be seen in the film from the apartment of the lead character (portrayed by Jimmy Stewart). When Bumstead asked why, Hitchcock said, “It’s a phallic symbol.”

Coit Tower light up with orange colors for the San Francisco giants

Murals Of Coit Tower

Industries of California by Ralph Stackpole

Industry both in the city and out in the fields was an important theme in the murals. (From Maxine Albro’s “Agriculture in California”.)

Headlines in the newspapers discuss current events, including the creating of the murals. (From Bernard Zakheim’s “Library”.)

A scene of city life, including a robbery on the bottom right, and a car accident in the center. (From Victor Arnautoff’s “City Life”.)

 

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