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21 Coit Tower

Coit Tower

Coit Tower
Standing at 210 feet tall, Coit Tower here is two-thirds the height of the hill it stands on. It was constructed back in 1929 with funds left by Lillie Hitchcock Coit in her last will and testament. She bequeathed about a third of her fortune to the city of San Francisco and left specific instructions that it should be spent on adding beauty to the city she loved. Many people think the Coit Tower was designed to look like the nozzle of a fire hose to reflect that fact that Lillie Coit loved the fire department. She did love the fire department. She was an honorary member of Company No. 5 and used to run alongside the fire wagons, and was even known to smoke a cigar and play poker with the firemen down at the fire station. But the architect says he had none of that in mind when he designed Coit Tower. For him, it's just a simple Art Deco tower. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the government initiated the Public Works of Art Project. The idea was to help artists during this difficult time by employing them to decorate public buildings like this one. The largest project in this program was a set of murals created inside Coit Tower here. 25 artists and 26 assistants came together from very different backgrounds and styles and agreed to work with a common palette, subject matter, and deadline. Quite remarkably after six months, they'd covered three and a half thousand feet of walls in here with their murals and have finished on time and on budget. Normally, you have to take the elevator to get to the top of Coit Tower, but today it's out of action. So we're going to go up the stairs instead, but it's definitely worth it because at the top, you have amazing 360-degree views of San Francisco, from the Bay Bridge across the city and out over Alcatraz, right out to the Golden Gate.
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