Posted on March 31, 2019
It looked like an ugly factory chimney! some artists and scholars wrote.
It was too tall - much, much taller than anything else in Paris, they wrote.
It might collapse. After all, it was being built by a railroad bridge architect, and it looked a lot like a railroad bridge, and railroad bridges sometimes collapse!
It was so hideous, even Americans wouldn't build it! the artists and scholars claimed.
So went a public letter written by the Parisian elite who hated the Eiffel Tower - at least when it was beginning to be built!
But by the time it was finished, almost everyone agreed that it was actually quite beautiful.
Gustave Eiffel designed the tower, and his company's 200 workers constructed it in time for the 1889 World's Fair. On this date in 1889, it was opened to the public for the first time.
Of course, it's become a famous and recognizable landmark - one of the most famous and recognizable in the world! It now stands for France itself, and it is the most-visited paid monument in the world!
When it was built, the Eiffel Tower became the tallest human-made structure in the world. That record had been held by the Washington Monument in the U.S., at around 555 feet (169 m) tall, but the Eiffel Tower was almost twice as tall, (1,063 feet, or 324 m). The Eiffel Tower held the world record 41 years, until the Chrysler Building in the U.S. was completed.
The Eiffel Tower remains the tallest structure in Paris. It's highest observation deck is the highest accessible to the public in the entire European Union.
Did you know...?
French companies couldn't figure out how to install elevators in the structure, so Eiffel had to hire the Otis Elevator Company, from the U.S., to build the elevator.
When Nazis captured France, Hitler made sure to have his photo taken in front of the Eiffel Tower. As long as the Germans occupied Paris, the Nazi flag flew on the tower, and even after the occupation was over, several French people were shot by retreating Nazis when the Frenchmen tried to climb to tower to replace the Nazi flag with homemade French flags.
The Eiffel Tower was only supposed to exist for a couple of decades, but it's been around for 130 years...and counting!
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