Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Telegraph Hill and Coit Tower

Continuing with the vista theme from the last posting, I want to encourage visitors and locals to head for the top of Telegraph Hill. Here you will get a great view of the northern edge of San Francisco as well as the Bay from the Golden Gate to the Bay Bridge. Telegraph Hill is one of the City's 43 hills and is named for the telegraph station that was on the top of the hill in the 19th century.

Atop the hill is Coit Tower, which is named after Lillie Hitchcock Coit. Many people say the tower is a memorial to San Francisco's firefighters, but this is not true. Lillie Coit was a great supporter of San Francisco's fire department. She bequeathed one third of her estate (approximately $100,000) to beautify the city. In response, the city decided to build a firefighter memorial in Washington Square and this observation tower in honor of Lillie.

The tower is open daily from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. One can take an elevator to the top of Coit Tower for an even more spectacular view of the city and bay. On the first floor of the tower are murals painted in 1933 and 1934 that depict Californians at work. When completed the murals were not immediately opened to the public as the city fathers considered them too leftist. They were worried that San Franciscans' morals would be compromised by seeing depictions of known communist Charley Chaplin and communist newspapers. Cooler heads prevailed and, after a six-month delay, the murals were opened to visitors.

Descending the hill by either the Filbert or Greenwich Street steps provides a walk through beautiful gardens maintained by Telegraph Hill residents. Some of the houses you will walk by are only accessible by these steps. Perhaps you will also get a glimpse of the wild parrots of Telegraph Hill during your descent.

Avoid the parking hassles atop Telegraph Hill by letting me take you on a tour of San Francisco. I can drop you at the top of the hill, so you can enjoy the vista, and then meet you at the bottom while you take a walk down either the Filbert of Greenwich steps. If you want to take a private tour of San Francisco, call me at (866) 326-4237 (toll free) or e-mail me by clicking here.

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