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Aquatic Park & Telegraph Hill

Posted by
Stephen Phillips (San Francisco, United States) on 21 August 2010 in Documentary & Street and Portfolio.

North Beach and Coit Tower - San Francisco

detail from a panorama - more...

© copyright 2018 by Stephen Phillips Photography / Oakland, California /
please respect these rights - do not copy or use these images without permission.

Magda from Vancouver, Canada

Interesting 'shape' it creates....

21 Aug 2010 5:47am

Paco Díaz from Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Fantastic sharp panoramic, I like very much the white ambience!

21 Aug 2010 6:55am

Curly from South Shields, United Kingdom

The folks living up the hill must wake up to wonderful views each morning, what can you tell us about the tower at the top? Is it a lighthouse?

21 Aug 2010 8:23am

@Curly: Hey Curly - thanks and good morning from a very foggy San Francisco. That monument is Coit Tower - and it was bequeathed to the city by one of its most colorful characters - Lillie Hitchcock Coit. The tower was built at her direction, after her death in 1929. It is in the shape of a fire hose nozzle. No joke. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about Lillie:

Lillie Hitchcock Coit (1842 – July 22, 1929 in San Francisco) was a well-known volunteer firefighter and the benefactor for the construction of the Coit Tower in San Francisco.

In 1851, she moved to California from West Point with her parents, Charles, an Army doctor, and Martha Hitchcock.

'Firebelle Lil' Coit was one of the more eccentric characters in the history of North Beach and Telegraph Hill, smoking cigars and wearing trousers long before it was socially acceptable for women to do so. She was an avid gambler and often dressed like a man in order to gamble in the males-only establishments that dotted North Beach. Coit was reputed to have shaved her head so her wigs would fit better.

Lillie had a special relationship with the city's firefighters. She had from very early days of her life been fascinated and enamored of the red shirted and helmeted fire fighters. At the age of fifteen she witnessed the Knickerbocker Engine Co. No. 5 in response to a fire call up on Telegraph Hill when they were shorthanded; She threw her school books to the ground and pitched in to help, calling out to other bystanders to help get the engine up the hill to the fire, to get the first water onto the blaze. After that Lillie became the Engine Co. mascot and could barely be constrained by her parents from jumping into action at the sound of every fire bell. After this she was frequently riding with the Knickerbocker Engine Co. 5, especially so in street parades and celebrations in which the Engine Co. participated. Through her youth and adulthood Lillie was recognized as an honorary firefighter.

Coit Tower is built on the site of the first west coast telegraph, a semaphore line completed in 1849. Coit commissioned another neighborhood landmark, a statue of three firefighters at the northwest corner of Washington Square Park.


...and now you know. Enjoy your weekend, my friend - and I'll hope to see you 'here' tomorrow.

Marie LC from France

Beautiful composition and presentation.

21 Aug 2010 8:43am

Mirko Herzner from Germany

I really like the high-key look of this image. Very well composed and with finde colors. Seems to be a nice place.

21 Aug 2010 12:07pm

@Mirko Herzner: I lived on this side of this hill in 1972. It is a splendid neighborhood with a good community center that was right next to my modest one bedroom apartment. I'd move back in a second.

Formerly Known as MontereyJohn from Waterbury, Connecticut, United States

No bad, Stephen :)

21 Aug 2010 3:44pm

Landy from Miami, United States

Muy buena vista gran detalle en toda su extructura, solo una cosa cuida los altos niveles de luz. saludos

21 Aug 2010 4:06pm

kate from lincolnshire, United Kingdom

stunning image. neat idea for a landmark!!:)

21 Aug 2010 4:11pm

Tamara from Aarschot, Belgium

Very clear image ! It must be difficult to find the good moment for this kind of capture, in a foggy area it's always challenging. Great work Stephen... as always ! Have a nice weekend :)

21 Aug 2010 4:24pm

Calusarus from St Sorlin en Valloire, France

Really a pretty landscape

21 Aug 2010 4:39pm

MARIANA from Waterloo, Canada

Gorgeous framing ! What a pretty postcard :))

21 Aug 2010 4:55pm

Denny Jump Photo from Easton, PA, United States

Hey Stephen - Thiis great sir. And that is really cool that you gave the history of Coit Tower etc to Curly - I knew it from my old 8th Grade CaliforniaHistory but forgot most of it so thank you for me too. Have a great weekend.

21 Aug 2010 5:05pm

Sunder from Chennai, India

Stunning view and great capture, Steve..
Love your composition and how you have included the baots in the foreground.
Thanks for the history as well...

21 Aug 2010 6:07pm

Phil David Alexander Morris from Saskatoon, Canada

Oh such an amazing story to go with the tower and a beautiful story for a
beautiful photograph. I always loved the tower when I visited, but never
knew the story and thank you so much for that wonderful story.

21 Aug 2010 6:57pm

Jack Johnstone from San Francisco, Calif., United States

The 2nd pier from the left is where we used to bury our beer, when I went to Galileo HS. By lunch time it was real cold from the bay water lappiing on it underneath the pier. My next class after lunch was an Art class. I did my best work with a nice beer buzz. I noticed my art done with the buzz on, usually ended up displayed in the hallways of our school. My teacher never knew my secret under the pier. A sad memory was a Dude we called the Sand Man. He had been the victim of a beating by union goons. He sat on the Aquatic Park Beach and stared out over the bay with a blank look on his face and never spoke. This is a great picture and full of memories for me.

21 Aug 2010 7:57pm

Alun from cheshire, United Kingdom

great looking place. nice shot

21 Aug 2010 8:21pm

willow from Chelsea, United States

I like the poster framing and the way a few little bits of color stand out from the otherwise gray day.

22 Aug 2010 12:41am

hugo poon from hong kong, Hong Kong

Oh Stephen, how exquisite is your portraiture and elegant is your presentation! The tone, fine details, composition... are all so charming my friend! Have a nice weekend!!!:-)

22 Aug 2010 2:05am

sherri from Little Rock, Arkansas, United States

I've read books that mention this hill. Nice to actually see it. Love the sailboats.

23 Aug 2010 1:42pm

dj.tigersprout from New York City, United States

with presentation like this -- i think you should start a postcard line...!!!! no? ;)

27 Aug 2010 7:32pm