Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

Yujung Cho of Seoul photographs herself in front of Victor Arnautoff's mural "City Life" at Coit Tower in San Francisco. Mineral blooms on the pillar's interior walls have marred the Depression-era frescoes.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Dave Getzschman / For The Times

The tower atop Telegraph Hill was built in 1933, thanks to a vague bequest from Lillie Hitchcock Coit.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Dave Getzschman / For The Times

Former state librarian Kevin Starr, left, and UC San Diego professor Bram Dijkstra view the mural "Department Store."

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Dave Getzschman / For The Times

Bernard Zakheim's mural "Library" features news items from the Depression era. His daughter deplores the neglect of the murals.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Dave Getzschman / For The Times

Visitors walk past the mural "Industries of California" by artist Ralph Stackpole, which was patterned after a Diego Rivera mural at Rockefeller Center that had been destroyed.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Dave Getzschman / For The Times

The mural "City Life" by artist Victor Arnautoff depicts a Depression-era street scene in San Francisco.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Dave Getzschman / For The Times

A visitor to Coit Tower explores the monument's interior murals, which were painted in 1934 and depict life in California during the Great Depression.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Dave Getzschman / For The Times

Bernard Zakheim's mural "Library" depicts his daughter, Ruth Gottstein, center left.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Dave Getzschman / For The Times

A visitor to Coit Tower views the mural "City Life" by artist Victor Arnautoff in San Francisco.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Dave Getzschman / For The Times

Local residents oppose a city plan to host private parties on top of Coit Tower to raise funds for the Recreation & Parks department budget. A neighborhood association has drafted a ballot initiative that would strictly limit commercial activity and private events at the landmark art deco structure and prioritize all revenues raised there for the tower’s upkeep.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Dave Getzschman / For The Times

The mural "Picking Oranges" by artist Maxine Albro.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Dave Getzschman / For The Times

A tour group led by Richard Rothman, left, of City Guides views the first-floor murals inside Coit Tower in San Francisco.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Dave Getzschman / For The Times

Detail of the mural "City Life" by artist Victor Arnautoff depicts a child witnessing a robbery. Also evident are scratches and scuffs to the surface of the fresco.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Dave Getzschman / For The Times

The mural "Department Store" by artist Frede Vidar shows evidence of damage from a phenomenon known as efflorescence, wherein evaporating water leaves behind salt deposits.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Dave Getzschman / For The Times

Detail of the second-floor mural "Sports" by artist Edward Terada.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Dave Getzschman / For The Times

Detail of the second-floor mural "Home Life" by artist Jane Berlandina shows wear inflicted by visitors.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Dave Getzschman / For The Times

Overlooking San Francisco's famous ferry terminal, Coit Tower stands in stark relief atop Telegraph Hill. Inside the Tower, Depression-era murals have fallen into disrepair. A city plan to raise money for the Recreation & Parks department budget by hosting private parties at the tower has upset local residents who believe revenues should flow to the icon’s upkeep.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Dave Getzschman / For The Times

San Francisco's iconic skyline is characterized by the city's famous bridges, the distinctively-shaped Transamerica building and Coit Tower, which stands alone atop Telegraph Hill.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Dave Getzschman / For The Times

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San Francisco's Coit Tower murals

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San Francisco’s Coit Tower murals

The frescoes encapsulate Depression-era California: Scenes depicting idyllic farm and factory life roll out beside those of grueling economic hardship. Urban shoppers browse for toys. A small boy witnesses a mugging.

No one disputes their historical value. But the works — along with their iconic Art Deco home, San Francisco’s fluted Coit Tower — are in trouble.

Read the full story by Lee Romney, “Hard times for a tower and its murals

Photos by Dave Getzschman / For The Times

2 Comments

  1. January 3, 2012, 6:48 pm

    Thanks! I was not aware of these pictures. Can't wait to see them in real life.

    By: bobhgg
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    By: FelixVJohnson

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