telegraph hill

274 feet above the northeast shoreline, this hill is named after the semaphore, a signaling device, which was erected in 1850 to signal the arrival of ships.


Coit Tower, 1933, Arthur Brown, Jr


Lillie Coit, a flamboyant San Franciscan who came from New York State in 1851 had a passionate respect for firemen and their bravery. My thanks to historian and storyteller, Peter Moylan, of San Francisco Then ... and Now for clarifying the correct stories about the following two art commissions ...

Lillie Coit

When Lillie died in 1929, she left $125,000 for a beautification project for "the city I love". The City Arts Commission conducted a design contest, which was won by Henry Howard of the architecture firm Blakewell and Brown, which designed City Hall. In the minutes of the commission meetings, it is recorded that he said it was not a fire nozzle, but a "simple fluted shaft". He said there were no prototypes, but there are power plants in Europe that are housed in "simple fluted shafts".


During the same year, 1933, a statue in Washington Square was commissioned with funds that Lillie left for "a statue to honor firemen". It depicts firemen rescuing a young girl.

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