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History and Events of the Eiffel Tower
in Paris France

Major Events and Facts about the Eiffel Tower

The tower was inaugurated on 31 March 1889, and opened on 6 May 1889.

On 10 September 1889 Thomas Edison visited the tower.  He signed the guest book with the message, "To Eiffel the Engineer the brave builder of so gigantic and original specimen of modern Engineering from one who has the greatest respect and admiration for all Engineers including the Great Engineer the Bon Dieu, Thomas Edison."

The Eiffel Tower

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History and Events of the Eiffel Tower in Paris France

In 1902, the tower was struck by lightning. 100m of the top had to be reconstructed and the damaged lights that illuminate the tower had to be replaced.

In 1909, a permanent underground radio centre was built near the south pillar of the Eiffel Tower, which still exists today.

In 1910, Father Theodor Wulf took observations of radiant energy from the top and bottom of the tower, He discovered more at the top than expected, and hence he detected what are known today as cosmic rays.

On 20 November 1913 the Paris Observatory, using the Eiffel Tower as an antenna, exchanged sustained wireless signals with the United States Naval Observatory, which used an antenna in Arlington, Virginia.  The object of the transmissions was to measure the difference in longitude between Paris and Washington, DC.

In 1925, the con artist Victor Lustig twice "sold" the tower for scrap metal!

In 1930, the tower lost the title of the world's tallest structure when the Chrysler Building was completed in New York City.

From 1925 to 1934, illuminated signs for Citroen adorned three of the tower's four sides, making it the tallest advertising space in the world at the time.

Upon the Nazi occupation of Paris in 1940, the lift cables were cut by the French so that Hitler would have to climb the steps to the summit. The parts to repair them were allegedly impossible to obtain because of the war, though they were working again within hours of the departure of the Nazis!

In 1940 Nazi soldiers had to climb to the top to hoist the swastika, but the flag was so large it blew away just a few hours later, and it was replaced by a smaller one.

In August 1944, when the Allies were nearing Paris, Hitler ordered General Dietrich von Choltitz, to demolish the tower along with the rest of the city, but Von Choltitz disobeyed the order.

On 3 January 1956, a fire damaged the top of the tower.

In 1957 the present radio antenna was added to the top.

In the 1980s an old restaurant and its supporting iron scaffolding midway up the tower was dismantled.  It was purchased and reconstructed on St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans, Louisiana by entrepreneurs John Onorio and Daniel Bonnot.  The restaurant was re-assembled from 11,000 pieces that crossed the Atlantic in a 40-foot cargo container.

In 1985 the James Bond adventure movie A View to a Kill, with Sir Roger Moore as James Bond chases May Day played by actress Grace Jones at the Eiffel Tower. She parachuted from the tower.  The video of the movie's theme also included several scenes of the pop group Duran Duran staged on the tower.

On New Year's Eve of 2000, the Eiffel Tower played host to Paris' Millennium Celebrations.  Fireworks exploded from the whole length of the tower in a spectacular display.

In 2000, flashing lights and four high-power searchlights were installed on the tower. Since then the light show has become a nightly event. The searchlights on top of the tower make it a beacon in Paris' night sky.

On 22 July 2003, a fire occurred at the top of the tower in the broadcasting equipment room. The entire tower was evacuated and the fire was put out within around 40 minutes.

Since 2004, the Eiffel Tower has hosted an ice skating rink on the first floor during the winter period. 

History and Events of the Eiffel Tower in Paris France

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