Atop Telegraph Hill is the 210-foot Coit Tower. The view from the tower spans 360 degrees and provides sweeping views of the Bay, Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and downtown.
Coit Tower was built in 1933 with funds left to the City by philanthropist Lillie Hitchcock Coit for the beautification of San Francisco, "the city which I have always loved". The art-deco tower is built of reinforced concrete and took five years to complete. Legend has it that one afternoon on her way home from school, young Coit came to the assistance struggling Knickerbocker Engine Co. No. 5. With Coit's persuasion, bystanders helped haul the fire engine up a steep San Francisco hill so Engine Co. No. 5 was able to put out the fire. Coit's admiration for the fire fighters, many of whom fought the 1906 earthquake fires, lead many to falsely speculate that the tower is designed in the shape of a fire hose nozzle.
Coit Tower is located in Pioneer Park, a 4.89-acre park that once housed the first telegraph line in California (1853) and gave the hill its name. In 1957, a bronze statue of Christopher Columbus, donated by the City's Italian-American community, was placed in the park. Telegraph Hill was once home to numerous artists and writers including Mark Twain, Frank Norris, Joaquin Miller, Ambrose Bierce and Bret Harte.