Born Elizabeth Wyche Hitchcock, Lillie moved to San Francisco with her family in 1851. Soon after her arrival, she developed a love for the volunteer fire department, specifically for the Knickerbocker Engine Company No. 5. Several years later when she was 15, she earned her place with the fire department when she led bystanders to help pull a struggling Knickbocker Engine No. 5 up Telegraph Hill to beat all other engine companies to a fire and was adopted as the company's mascot. Becoming well known in the city for rushing out to every fire and for taking care of the city's firefighters, she was named an honorary member of Knickerbocker Engine Company No. 5 on October 3, 1863. In 1869 she married businessman Howard Coit, but the couple separated in 1880 and the marriage officially ended with Howard's death in 1885. Following her death, she left one third of her fortune to the city of San Francisco for beautification. The money was used for the construction of Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill and for a statue in honor of the volunteer fire department in Washington Square.In fact, it is theorized that the tower is intended to look like the nozzle of a fire hose, though no one has definitively proven that. This is the view from the top of the tower. There really isn't anything at the top except windows, which are somewhat sealed, but visitors squeeze coins from various countries through the cracks, so the ledges are lined with interesting currency.
Sunday, October 7
The Public Works of Art Project. This is one of the typical scenes; I like it because it's very California.
Posted by Kelly Visel