October 8, 2013

Coit Tower @ 80

       photo by Styrous®

When I was a little kid my father used to take me to Pioneer Park atop Telegraph Hill in San Francisco to see Coit Tower. There is a statue of Columbus by Vittorio Colbertaldo in front but nothing my father could say would convince me that it was NOT a statue of Superman (well, it does have a cape). Back then it was my favorite part of visiting the building.

statue of Columbus by Vittorio Colbertaldo
photos by Styrous®

Lillie Hitchcock was the reason behind the extraordinary building; she left money to San Francisco for beautification of the city. As she was notorious as a fire chaser and loved firemen, it was decided to build a memorial for the city's firefighters. She was quite a character, apparently, she smoked cigars and dressed like a man so she could get into the casinos where only men were allowed.

The tower was built in 1933; it was designed by architects Arthur Brown, Jr., who also designed Sproul Hall and the Bancroft Library in Berkeley, and Henry Howard. The lobby is filled with beautiful frescos executed under the auspices of the Public Works of Art Project. The artists were mainly faculty and students of the California School of Fine Arts (CSFA), including Maxine Albro, Victor Arnautoff, Ray Bertrand, Rinaldo Cuneo, Mallette Harold Dean, Clifford Wight, Edith Hamlin, George Harris, Otis Oldfield, Suzanne Scheuer, Hebe Daum and Frede Vidar. The frescos are the gems of the building and reflect the socialist ideals of the era.

photos by Styrous®

"Cowboy" by Clifford Wight

photos by Styrous®

Superman home page

Styrous ~ October 8, 2013

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