Tuesday, June 28, 2005

  • Coit Tower, San Francisco

  • Coit Tower, San Fran., CA
    Originally uploaded by S'mee.

    Lillie Hitchcock Coit was a little girl when she was playing with friends in an abandoned building. The building took fire and she was rescued by volunteer fire fighters. Later in her youth as she was walking home from school she saw the Knickerbocker Engine no.5 struggling to get up those infamous hills to yet another fire. Dropping her school books she ran to their aide and yelled at others standing in the street to help the volunteers. Lillie was hooked. She loved the firemen in their uniforms, but more so for their heroic efforts time and again.

    Going to the links will give you plenty of history and more information on the tower itself, so much so that yesterday's blog went into cyber space never to be seen again! That said, there are stories of Lillie abandoning her hubby at the alter to run after Engine no.5 still dressed in her dress and veil! After hubby died at age 47 Lillie went to France and entertained the likes of Napoleon all the while her heart still with those Knickerbockers. When she died at age 86 she left one third of her vast fortune to San Francisco and asked that it "be expended in an appropriate manner for the purpose of adding to the beauty of the city which I have always loved." (The other two thirds of her fortune went to the Universities of California and Maryland - nice gal!)

    Controversy and politics were the order of the day and after all the dust settled the city decided upon what we have currently up on Telegraph Hill. The tower itself rises some 212 feet giving the folks inside a 360 degree perspective of the city. After a $3.00 ticket purchase on the main floor, one rides the elevator. 20 or so more steps spiral you out into the open air.

    This is one of the photos I took. So many structures! So much concrete, steel, and asphalt that finding any green is near to impossible. Like a Where's Waldo? game.

    Find the green and you win! There are spots here and there, but it is always amazing to me how the buildings are on top of each other. There are actual places in this city that only get a few moments of direct sunlight each day because the buildings are so high and built so close. Until I spent time wandering around the neighborhoods, I didn't notice how most of the city homes are actually one huge building with connecting/shared walls; (Victorian Houses)

    with facades that are painted and designed to resemble individual houses. It is a hard concept for a gal from SoCAL where in my (lower middle class) neighborhood everyone is required to have at least 1/2 acre per single residence. I look at my "tiny" back yard differently now. Across the street from our hotel we saw that most of the housing had a penthouse suite and that roof access was often used to provide an outdoor patio, sunroom, or even gardens. While standing perched atop Coit Tower it is interesting to see what the different neighborhoods use this space for. We saw the afore mentioned, but also solariums, shuffle board and tennis courts, and even a school playground!

    From this vantage point one can see Alcatraz, Lombard Street, ChinaTown, Fisherman's Wharf, the TransAmerica Building, and both the Golden Gate and Oakland Bay Bridge, among other landmarks.

    Here is a link to the Virtual Museum on line where you can click and point your way through many of the sights and history for yourself! This is a video documentary of events leading up to, during and shortly after the 1906 earthquake. Have fun, take a tour, enjoy!

    add to sk*rt

    No comments: