Picture of the Day: Constructing an Icon
The Centennial Exposition of 1889 was organized by the French government to commemorate the French Revolution. Bridge engineer Gustave Eiffel’s 984-foot (300-meter) tower of open-lattice wrought iron was selected in a competition to erect a memorial at the exposition.
Twice as high as the dome of St. Peter’s in Rome or the Great Pyramid of Giza, nothing like it had ever been built before. This view was made about four months short of the tower’s completion. Louis-Émile Durandelle photographed the tower from a low vantage point to emphasize its monumentality. The massive building barely visible in the far distance is dwarfed under the tower’s arches.
Incidentally, the tower’s innovative glass-cage elevators, engineered to ascend on a curve, were designed by the Otis Elevator Company of New York, the same company that designed the Getty Center’s diagonally ascending tram where this photo now resides. [source]
The Eiffel Tower is the tallest structure in Paris and the most-visited paid monument in the world; 6.98 million people ascended it in 2011. The tower received its 250 millionth visitor in 2010 and stands as a global cultural icon of France.
If you enjoyed this, check out this post of rare photos of the Statue of Liberty being built in 1883.