Locals and visitors who had to wait six months for restoration and structural work to be completed on Telegraph Hill’s Coit Tower were rewarded in mid-May with the reopening of the iconic monument. Paint was touched up, asbestos and lead were removed, a gift shop added, and more was done in a $1.6 million refurbishment.
Coit Tower holds a special place of affinity with San Francisco firefighters. Its namesake, socialite Lillie Hitchcock Coit, was obsessed with firefighting, especially in the days before San Francisco had a professional fire department. After her death in 1929, she left a bequest consisting of one-third of her estate to the city to add “to the beauty of the city which I have always loved.” Coit Tower, built in 1933, was the result.
Visitors can once again see murals painted by 27 artists, many of whom focused on issues of racial equality and painted in the then-trendy style of Socialist realism.