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Telegraph Hill

Coit-Tower TELHILL 1930s.jpg

Coit Tower soon after its construction in the mid-1930s.

Photo: The Semaphore

Text excerpted from 'The District Handbook: A CORO Foundation Guide'

Telegraph Hill first served as an observation point when John Montgomery built a fort shortly after his arrival in San Francisco in 1846. Four years later, the Maria Telegraph, for which the hill is named, began to tell the city of approaching sea vessels. Unfortunately, gale winds demolished the observation point in 1870.

Coit Tower, the structure at the top of the Telegraph Hill today, was a gift to the city from Lillie Hitchcock Coit, an admirer of the Knickerbocker Engine Company. She left $188,731 in her will for the construction of a monument to honor the firemen. The tower was erected in 1933 and stands 180 feet high. It resembles the nozzle of a fire hose.