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San Francisco landmark celebrated at 75

UPI News Service, 10/25/2008 

San Francisco celebrated the 75th anniversary Saturday of Coit Tower, built to honor an heiress who left money to beautify the city.

The 210-foot tower on Telegraph Hill includes murals of the city in the late 1920s and 1930s on its inside walls.

Lillie Hitchcock Coit arrived in San Francisco as a child. After an unhappy marriage, she spent much of her life in Europe.

She died in 1929 at age 86, leaving one-third of her estate to San Francisco, specifying it should be used for "adding to the beauty ... of the city I have always loved."

Four years later, Coit Tower was built at a cost of $115,000, designed by Arthur Page Brown Jr., architect of city hall.

More than 2 million people a year now take the elevator up Coit Tower.

The tower has accumulated its own myths and legends. At one time, conservatives wanted the murals painted over because they were thought to be leftist. More recently, some people have claimed the tower holds a large supply of tomato sauce and is connected by pipeline to nearby Italian restaurants.

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Copyright 2008 by United Press International

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