Most people associate the Eiffel Tower with France, which is rightfully their own beautiful and iconic piece of artwork. But, tucked away in Paris, Tennessee, you may find a sight that looks
just a bit out of the ordinary. Mainly because it’s very French. Do you know the history of the Tennessean Eiffel Tower?
The southern Eiffel Tower actually wasn't BORN in Paris. It was created in Memphis in 1990, by engineering students attending Christian Brothers University at the Memphis in May Festival. The festival honors a country every year, and focused on France that particular year.
The original structure was wooden, and meant to only be a temporary structure. The university meant to destroy or move it eventually, because students were (unsafely) climbing it unaccompanied, and it was not meant to hold human weight.
Not long after, in April of 1991, the Paris-Henry County Chamber of Commerce decided to sponsor "Paris USA." It was an event that was meant to celebrate the 15 cities in the United States that are named after the ever-iconic city of lights. It was then that the university contacted Paris, Tennessee, asking if they'd like the tower - they accepted.
It was designed to scale by multiple professors at Christian Brothers University, with the design based on the original designs saved from Gustave Eiffel's original - stunning - musings.
The Paris, Tennessee Eiffel Tower stands at 60 feet or 18 meters tall, making it a nearly perfect 1:20 replica of the famed tower in France. It was built over the course of more than 10,000 hours given by CBU students, staff and surrounding community.
It contains 500 pieces of Douglas fir tree and a mind-boggling 6,000 steel rods. It was built in CBU's Buckman Quadrangle, then dismantled and delivered to Paris in the early winter of 1992. The tower has since been painted and stands with pride in Memorial Park.