Monday, May 6, 2013

May 6 - Eiffel Tower

On May 6, 1889, La Tour Eiffel was opened to the public on the first day of the Exposition Universelle, a World's Fair in Paris marking the 100th anniversary of the storming of the Bastille and the start of the French Revolution. The tower, designed by civil engineer Gustave Eiffel and constructed of wrought iron, served as the Fair’s entrance arch on the Champ de Mars. The structure was still being finished, but fairgoers could climb stairs to the second-floor platform (lifts were not yet installed). The structure was an instant success with the public. Though intended to be dismantled in 1909, the city of Paris realized the tower’s value for communications and other purposes. During World War I, radio transmissions from the tower jammed German signals and aided the Allied victory at the First Battle of the Marne. In 1940, with the German occupation of Paris, Parisians disabled the lifts to prevent Hitler from rising into the tower. But in 1944, with the Liberation of Paris, the lifts were fully operable almost immediately. Pictured: brand new in 1889.

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