SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco's landmark Coit Tower reopened to the public on Wednesday after a six-month, $1.7 million upgrade that included the restoration of its famed murals.
City officials were among scores of people who attended a celebration marking the Depression-era tower's reopening.
Advocates for the tower say it was desperately in need of repair. It had lead paint peeling from the ceiling, poor lighting and water leaks that were corroding the murals.
Much of the repair work consisted of weather-proofing the building, San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department spokeswoman Sarah Ballard told KTVU-TV.
"One of the challenges with Coit Tower is that it actually wasn't made to have these murals on the inside," she said. "It's a porous building."
In addition to the repairs, the tower will now offer docent tours, so people can learn about the murals and the time period they reflect, parks officials said. A mural on the second floor will also be open to the public for the first time.
Completed in 1933, Coit Tower has become a defining feature of the city's skyline. Its observation deck provides a 360-degree view of the city and bay, including the Golden Gate and San Francisco-Oakland Bay bridges.
It is named for Lillie Hitchcock Coit, a wealthy patron of the city's firefighters who bequeathed a substantial amount of money to beautify the city. The money was used for Coit Tower and a monument to volunteer firefighters in a nearby square, according to the parks department.
The murals were painted in 1934 as part of a New Deal program to employ artists. They depict life in California during the Depression.