Monday, 1 July 2013

Coit Tower and Cable Cars

So on my final day in San Francisco (I know I'm behind with the postings!) the theme was C.

Coit Tower and cable cars!

Coit tower from different viewpoints...

It was a lovely warm day and multiple steps up - so by the time I got to the tower I was one sweaty Beaty!

The views were good (for San Francisco!) - this is the bay bridge 

And the Golden Gate Bridge sans fog!!

Alcatraz island

Famous Lombard street (decided not to walk up that one that day)

The tower is the Lillian Coit memorial tower.

Lillian Coit was quite the character - as a girl she was part of the Knickerbocker engine co 5 - the volunteer firefighters, after cheering them on to get their fire engine up a hill.

She used to dress like a man and loved to gamble - the dressing up meant she could gamble in the men only dens on North beach.

After she was married the gambling just moved into her house :)

The tower is her memorial tower after she left a third of her fortune to the city for beautification purposes in 1929 (she was married to a banker - not sure if she was that successful at the gambling!)

It took the city a while to come up with an idea of what to do with the money and it was built in 1933, and the inside was decorated with fresco murals from local San Francisco artists as part of a New Deal project to keep them in work during the depression and showed typical aspects of California.

California wines...

Wine shop!


However some people thought that showing the workers as equals was glorifying them in a communist style, which didn't go down so well at that time.

The only decoration on the outside of the building is the bushels and the Phoenix - appropriate given both Lillian's connections with the firemen and also the tendency for San Francisco to burn down and be rebuilt!

So after the hard slog I decided against walking back up the hill and so I grabbed a cable car.

Here's the grip man at work...

All the cables go through the cable car museum for power and tensioning - you don't want them going slack when you are going up a hill and they do stretch over their lives...

The museum is free (always good when on a budget!) and tells about how the cable cars work, how they were saved from complete destruction and how they have been restored.

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