When I visited Fisherman's Wharf last February, I was still on a tight schedule with no time to stop by the tower. However, at 9 a.m. on a chilly winter day, the 210-foot-tall structure still towered above the urban landscape to the east. Poised atop the 285-foot-tall Telegraph Hill, Coit Tower was clearly visible in the early morning light, surrounded by hills full of steep walkways and pastel-painted cottages.
But the next time I visit San Francisco, I'll finally make my way up Telegraph Hill, where visitors can see a 360-degree view of the City by the Bay including the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and the famed curves of Lombard Street. The tower was commissioned by local philanthropist, Lillie Hitchcock Coit, in honor of fire fighters who battled blazes that resulted from the 1906 earthquake. The tower, built of unpainted reinforced concrete, also offers a history museum, and murals that depict Depression-era working class life in California.