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At 85, Coit Tower still a signature on San Francisco cityscape

The iconic Coit Tower, recently named a “nationally significant” historic place on the National Register of Historic Places, turns 85 on Monday.

“Coit Tower has been an emblem of San Francisco’s skyline for 85 years, and its beautiful murals portray what life was like for San Franciscans trying to make a living during the Great Depression,” said Phil Ginsburg, general manager of the city’s recreation and park department.

The fluted white column rising from Telegraph Hill was built at the bequest of Lillie Hitchcock Coit, a devoted patron of the city’s firefighters.

Since its completion in 1933, the tower’s observation deck has offered visitors 360-degree views of the city.

Artists employed by the Public Works of Art Project – a precursor to the Works Progress Administration, painted its frescoes in 1934.

A group of artists, relatives of Coit Tower muralists, Protect Coit Tower and other advocates are working to elevate the structure to National Landmark Status.

To celebrate the 85th birthday, Canessa Gallery in North Beach is displaying Coit Tower Artists-in-Action photo exhibit through October.

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