Notable Tile Installation

Lincoln Park Steps

Notable Tile Installation

Lincoln Park Steps

San Francisco, California

Year of Installation:


Craftmanship Features

Lincoln Park in San Francisco, California, renovated and brightened its main stairway with a ceramic tile mural installation. The design for the stairs was inspired by Beaux Arts (a combination of ancient Greece and Rome with Renaissance ideas), which was a popular design movement during the time the stairs were originally built in the 1900s.

The tile artist chosen for the restoration, Aileen Barr, wanted the handmade tile to look as if it was derived from the natural world, so the tile patterns and colors focused on floral motifs and colors. The Beaux Arts influence is seen in the symmetry and balance of the design and the elaborate tile ornamentation on all 52 steps, as well as the stair risers, benches, and pillars. From a distance, visitors can get a full view of the mural, which becomes more grandiose as you broaden your view. A closer look showcases the intricate handmade ceramic tile details.



The Lincoln Park Stairway was originally built in the early 1900s as a gateway to the Lincoln Park Golf Course, Lincoln Park Playground, Legion of Honor, and Land’s End Trail. The steps also provide an area to view the Golden Gate Bridge and the East Bay Hills.

Years of neglect left the Lincoln Park stairs cracked, littered, and vandalized with graffiti. The stairs are also near the front entrance of the Katherine Delmar Burke School and the decaying steps had become a safety hazard for the students. Something needed to be done to restore the staircase and the effort was amplified to also create a beautiful space for locals and visitors to share.

As successful public/private public art project, support from local organizations and community members was necessary to fund the restoration. Friends of Lincoln Park partnered with the San Francisco Park Alliance and key local pro-bono experts to begin funding for the repair and decoration of the steps in 2007. The project was completed in two phases and took seven years. Phase One consisted of structural repair and adding the handmade ceramic tiles to the surface of the steps. Phase Two involved additional structural repair to the pillars and benches. The stairway was officially finished in 2015 and will continue to serve the community and visitors for many decades.


See for Yourself

See this incredible stair mural for yourself at Lincoln Park. While you’re in San Francisco, plan to also visit two other mosaic tile stairways—the 16th Avenue Tile Staircase and the Hidden Garden Steps for more amazing tile designs.


Extra Resources

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