Coit Tower – What You Need To Know BEFORE You Visit

(Last Updated On: May 10, 2023)

Coit Tower is an incomparable landmark in San Francisco‘s Telegraph Hill neighborhood.

Sitting 210 feet tall and designed in the Art Deco architectural style, the tower provides breathtaking views of the city and bay.

Commissioned by beloved San Francisco philanthropist Lillie Hitchcock Coit with the intention of beautifying the city, and dedicated in 1933 to honor the volunteer firemen who died in major fires, the towers interior features stunning fresco murals in the American fresco mural painting style, painted by 25 artists who worked onsite and 2 who worked offsite.

The main entrance features a concrete relief of a phoenix by sculptor Robert Boardman Howard, imparting an otherworldly feeling to the grand tower.

There is an oftrepeated myth that the tower was designed to resemble a fire nozzle due to Coit‘s connection to the fire department, but it‘s an interesting coincidence rather than a conscious decision.

Coit Tower was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.

Coit Tower History

Coit Tower was funded by Lillie Hitchcock Coit, a wealthy heiress, who bequeathed a portion of her fortune to be used to beautify the city of San Francisco.

The Art Deco tower was designed by architects Arthur Brown Jr. and Henry Temple Howard, and after her death in 1929, construction began in 1932 and 1933.

Coit dedicated the tower to the volunteer firefighters who served the city during the devastating Great Fires of San Francisco.

The tower is adorned with fresco murals and two paintings, as well as a concrete relief of a phoenix by sculptor Robert Boardman Howard above the main entrance.

In 1984, the Coit Tower was designated a local San Francisco landmark and in 2008 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The tower stands of Telegraph Hill as a testament to San Francisco’s volunteer fire service and Lillie Hitchcock Coit’s passion for the city.

In June 2020, amidst the George Floyd protests, the statue of Christopher Columbus that had long stood outside the Coit Tower’s entrance was removed.

To this day, Coit Tower remains a cornerstone of San Francisco’s past and continues to be a popular tourist destination.


  • Tamara M

    Hey there! My name is Tamara, welcome to my little world! I’m a 20-something-year-old from Toronto, Canada (though I’m rarely there) and I’m super passionate about exploring the world, photography, and cooking delicious plant-based recipes. I created this blog to share my favorite places, adventures, restaurants, accommodations, and travel tips with all of you and keep a bit of a travel diary for myself.

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