Friday, July 8, 2011
Lillie Hitchcock Coit was a wealthy San Francisco woman known for smoking cigars, wearing mens clothing to get into male-only gambling dens in North Beach, and her enamor of the fire department. Since being rescued from a hotel fire at age eight (or another story is that she was on her way home from school and noticed the Knickerbocker #5 engine having trouble climbing Telegraph Hill so she ran to help) she became an honorary member of the fire department and even wore a diamond-encrusted #5 badge. Legend has it she would take off from wherever she was when she heard the sound of a siren. Coit Tower was built in her honor atop Telegraph Hill in 1933 with money she left to the city.