Address
1 Telegraph Hill Blvd.
Year Constructed
1933
Structural Engineering Firm(s)
  • Pregnoff & Matheu
Structural Engineer(s)
Architect(s)
Arthur Brown Jr., Henry Howard
Main Contractor
Young and Horstmeyer
Media
Coit Tower at Sunset
Coit Tower at Sunset
Source: Smithsonian
Coit Tower in the Distance
Coit Tower in the Distance
Old Coit Tower Photo
Old Coit Tower Photo
Coit Tower Mural
Coit Tower Mural
Structure Description

Coit Tower was constructed in 1933 at the bequest of philanthropist Lillie Hitchcock Coit.  The 210-foot, reinforced concrete tower is located atop Telegraph Hill, and remains a prominent feature of the San Francisco Skyline.  The structure was constructed using three “nested” concrete cylinders.  The first cylinder, reaching 180-feet in height, supports the viewing platform while the intermediate and inner shafts contain the stairway and elevator respectively.  In addition to the pleasing aesthetic of the tower, the interior of the structure features murals painted by 26 artists from San Francisco.

Significance to Structural Engineering History in Northern California

The use of reinforced concrete as a building material gained popularity in San Francisco following the 1906 earthquake and subsequent fires that devastated the city.  At the time of its completion, Coit Tower became one the tallest reinforced concrete structures in San Francisco.  Today, Coit Tower is the largest collection of Public Works Project Art in the country and is listed as a National Historic Landmark.

Interesting Facts
  • The murals painted inside the tower occupy 3,961 square feet of space
  • There are 90,000 entries on the National Register of Historic Places, but only 2,500 are designated National Historic Landmarks, including Coit Tower