Telegraph Hill, San Francisco
Telegraph Hill, 295ft/90m high, is situated on the north side of the city center. It is one of 43 hills in San Francisco. Rather like Montmartre in Paris, it has many artists' studios on its slopes, as well as prosperous middle class villas.San Francisco is often likened to Rome and Lisbon as being "a city built on seven hills"; but that takes account of only the seven most prominent, of which Telegraph Hill is one (the others being Nob Hill, Rincon Hill, the Twin Peaks, Russian Hill, Lone Mountain and Mount Davidson).Today there is no telegraph on Telegraph Hill; the name goes back to a so-called semaphore tower, erected on what was then a barren hilltop at the time of the Gold Rush.
Telegraph Hill Map
Transit: Buses 15 and 30 to Columbus Street and Union Street then no. 39.
Coit Memorial Tower
Coit Tower stands 500ft/150m above sea-level on the summit of Telegraph Hill. As well as having interesting murals, well worth seeing in their own right, the tower, though not as high as Twin Peaks, is still one of the best vantage points for views over San Francisco and the Bay. A lift ascends the 210ft/64m to the Perspex-glazed viewing platform. In clear weather it is possible to see as far as Mount TamalpaisThe tower is named after Lillie Hitchcock Coit (1843-1929), an honorary member of one of the fire fighting companies who, on her death, left $100,000 to the city. This paid for the erection of the tower in honor of the fire brigade. Constructed in 1934, it was designed by Arthur Brown Jr., architect of the City Hall and other San Francisco buildings. There are many who claim to recognize, in the shape of the free-standing columnar tower, the nozzle of a fire-hose.MuralsThe tower is decorated on the inside with sixteen monumental murals, the work of 25 painters and their nineteen assistants, undertaken as part of a work creation scheme during the Great Depression. The cycle of paintings has as its theme working life in California in 1934. The largest mural, by Ralph Stackpole, depicts California's industries. In common with most of the murals it shows the strong influence of the Mexican artist Diego de Rivera, who lived in San Francisco for a period during the 1930s. Apart from those at ground-level, the murals inside the tower can only be viewed on Saturday mornings from 11 am.
Address: 1 Telegraph Hill Boulevard, San Francisco, CA 94133-3106, United States
Opening hours: 10am-7pm
Entrance fee: FREE
Useful tips: Apart from the murals at ground-level, those inside the tower can be viewed only on Saturday mornings from 11:00 am.
Facilities: Gift shop
Coit Tower is surrounded by Pioneer Park. This was a stoney barren hillside until it was laid out as a park when the Centennial Celebrations of the United States took place on Telegraph Hill. The bronze statue of Christopher Columbus is especially noteworthy.
Map of San Francisco Attractions