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San Francisco's Coit Tower gets a facelift

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Coit Tower, one of San Francisco's best known landmarks, is closed for renovations from mid-November 2013 through a projected re-opening date in April 2014. Built in 1933, the monument requires a $1.1 million overhaul to protect it from ingress of rain and moisture which has damaged the walls. Cracked paint, electrical and plumbing systems and asbestos treatment are on the to-do list for repairs.

Facelift for a lady

The beloved 80-year-old white concrete structure atop Telegraph Hill can be widely seen from the bay and from various points across the city. Views from Pioneer Park at the base, which features a statue of Christopher Columbus, are outstanding. Some visitors pay to take the elevator to the top of the 275-foot tower, but the real treasures of the simple fluted column are on the walls of its lobby.

Painted murals

Scenes from every day life around the Bay Area during the Great Depression were painted on the walls of Coit Tower by a group of artists employed by the Public works of Art Project, later the Works Progress Administration (WPA), in 1934. Controversial at the time, they are now highly acclaimed. However, the wear and tear of millions of visitors, as well as the ravages of time and weather, threatened the longevity of the frescoes.

The San Francisco Recreation & Parks Department indicates that once the maintenance on the structure is completed, attention will turn to restoration of the murals.

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