Was Eiffel Tower To Be Demolished in 1909?
Yes, but it was spared.
Let’s go through the Story behind the universal symbol of Paris.
Today, Eiffel Tower is one of the world’s greatest attractions for tourists.
The history of the vertical tower made of wrought iron structures standing on four foundation legs, is very interesting from the day of its inauguration in 1889.
Gustave Eiffel followed an alternative style in which the weight of the tower was reduced by an arrangement of metal trusses connecting iron beams in this iron structure (lattice style = structure made of wood or metal) standing on four foundation legs.
It was formally commenced in the World Exhibition, the Exposition Universelle, held in Paris in 1889.
This World Fair was arranged to mark and commemorate the French Revolution after 100 years, a turning point in French history.
The Centenary Committee grant approval to noted French architect, Gustave Eiffel, to build Eiffel Tower at the entrance of the exhibition as a tribute to the French Revolution after scrutinizing many proposals (More than 100 proposals were submitted).
An international exhibition of the industrial, scientific, technological, and artistic achievements of the participating countries.
The French Revolution (1789-99):
It was started by various groups in French society to oppose the feudal structure of the state. Its main aim was to overthrow the Bourbon monarchy, (a royal ruling family of France from 1589 to 1848). In May 1789 the members of the States General (the legislative assembly) met and started the political and social revolution against the monarchy.
The Tower was erected to 320 meters (1051 feet) which was the tallest man-made structure those days and had been for many years. It was credited with the title of the tallest title from 1889 to 1930.
The Towers taller than Eiffel in world today:
There stands 6 towers ((made of wood or metal) ahead of Eiffel Tower today in terms height.
1. Tokyo Skytree at Tokyo in Japan stands first now with a height of 643 m (2,080 feet). It was constructed in 2011.
2. Kyiv TV Tower at Kyiv in Ukraine – built in 1973. Height – 385 m (263 feet). It was hit by Russian missile in the war against Ukraine in 2022.
3. Dragon Tower at Harbin in China – erected in 2000. Height – 336 m (1102 feet).
4. Tokyo Tower at Tokyo in Japan – built in 1958 – height: 333 m (1093 feet).
5. WITI TV Tower at Shorewood, Wisconsin in US – erected in 1962. Height – 329.4 m (1081 feet).
6. St. Petersburg TV Tower at St. Petersburg in Russia – constructed in 1962. Height – 326 m (1070 feet).
How Gustave Eiffel Structured Eiffel Tower:
The Tower was built with 15,000 welded pieces weighing about 7,112 tonnes (7,000 tons).
Oh! that was the glorious occasion of a panoramic view witnessed by ore than 30 million people in and around 72 km (45 miles) area watching the illustrious lighting made by about 2,000 gas lights illuminated the Tower.
Gustave Eiffel (1832-1923), the French engineer:
He designed and constructed this marvelous tower. It was also opened by him. He was as well familiar to have architected the inner iron structure of the Statue of Liberty, a symbol of freedom and democracy. It was made in Paris and moved and erected on Liberty Island at the entrance to New York Harbor.
Gustave planted a tricolor flag in the summit of the Eiffel Tower. He dedicated it to the glorious past and future of France. He described it as a great symbol for the new age of scientific and industrial development.
The Tower was structured in three levels. Tourists can ascend either by stairs or by using lift.
He made a small apartment for himself and for his guests at the top along with laboratories.
Protests by critics of the day against the Eiffel Tower:
Many skeptics described it as a useless and monstrous structure. They warned the visitors about vertigo and might be struck by lightning. The august group of French artists staged protests against the erection. But none of that could stop the construction of the Eiffel Tower.
The Eiffel Tower was due to be demolished in 1909:
Initially a permit for 20 years was granted to Eiffel. So it was to be dismantled in 1909. But was spared as it was suitable to the antennae for the new science of radio telegraphy. Even after its expiry of permit, the City of Paris granted permit for the tower to exist it became part of the International Time Service (ITS).
In addition to tourist attraction. Now it serves as an Observation and Broadcasting Tower.
A permanent underground radio center was setup at south pillar in 1909. Paris Observatory and U.S. Naval Observatory are using Eiffel Tower for their radio and digital television signals.
Later years it became world’s popular attraction as a tourist site. It is estimated that more than 300 million people have visited since it was made. It is the most-visited paid monument in the world now. Around 25,000 visitors are said to step up the tower on average every day.
The 100-year celebrations of the tower in 1989 were a grand affair. The celebrations were held with a unique lighting system copyrighted as an ‘Original Visual Creation’.
United Nation’s UNESCO declared the site as the World Heritage Site in 1964, naming it the ‘Monument Historique’.