Friday, June 20, 2008
Tourists are baffled by it, because they don't know what it is. Franciscans mostly don't like it and generally ignore it. It's one of the least known major San Francisco landmarks. The top of it looks to me like a three-masted frigate.
Shortly after work on this Rube Goldberg of a transmitter sitting atop Mt. Sutro was completed, the late SF Chronicle columnist Herb Caen wrote "I keep waiting for it to stalk down the hill and attack the Golden Gate Bridge."
Sutro Tower is useful for purposes of geographical orientation (it can be seen from everywhere in this low-rise city excepting those few places where it's obscured by tall trees or tall buildings), but ugly. The television stations which had it built in the early 70's to improve the city's spotty reception patterns could have just waited a few years, until cable came in, but they had no way of knowing that at the time.
This morning I climbed the steep Cole Street hill, which I can easily and pleasurably do now that I no longer smoke cigarettes, and took this shot at the corner of Schrader and Carmel. It's tee shirt weather here today, which is unusual, and the streets are crowded with pedestrians. I took a long walk and didn't worry about getting lost; I can always figure out where I am by looking for Sutro Tower.