Department Store by Frede Vidor

In January 2008, the Coit Memorial Tower was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, not for the building’s Art Deco design, but for its 27 murals that grace the rotunda and inner stairwell of the structure.

When the Coit Tower was completed in 1933, its interior consisted of 3,000 ft2 of blank wall space. In early 1934, the building was chosen by the Public Works of Art Project (one of several federal agencies that put people to work during the Depression), to support professional artists.

Twenty-six Bay Area artists were hired to create the artwork. Together, they created a unified theme of Aspects of Life in California. The American art scene at the time was divided into two distinct schools: Regionalism which glorified rural America, and Social Realism, which offered a more critical and urban view of society.

The Coit Tower murals remain a definitive representation of the art of the Great Depression.

— Abbreviated text based on the information board inside the Coit Tower building