CBS News: Descendants Of Coit Tower’s Namesake Inspect Restoration Efforts

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)—Descendants of Lillie Hitchcock Coit came to the San Francisco tower that bears her name on Monday to meet relatives of one of the artists who painted the murals inside. Together they inspected some of the restoration and repairs underway of the Depression-era murals atop Telegraph Hill and came away impressed.

Ruth Gottstein was 11-years-old when her father, artist Bernard Zakheim painted her into a fresco for posterity at Coit Tower.

“I’m the little girl in the mini-blouse down in the left hand corner, and I remember coming up to the tower while the artists were working here. You’d come in and smell the wet plaster. It was an extraordinary time,” she said.

Gottstein was met, for the first time ever, by descendant of benefactor Lillie Coit, who left the City the money to build the tower. Coit’s great-great-great-great niece, Susie Coit Williams, said bearing the historic name is a “great” responsibility.

“It’s almost overwhelming. I always want to make sure that I’m respectful and cognizant of what it means to everyone here,” she said, adding that she’s thrilled to see the tower finally being fixed. “It’s so essential. I hope it’s here forever.”

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