Thursday, April 2, 2009

Tower Tales - Gustave Eiffel Honors Contributors

Though Gustave Eiffel goes down in history as the creator of the famous iron Tower, he was far from alone in this momentous endeavor. A huge cast of characters - scientists, engineers, mathmeticians, architects, metalworkers, and laborers of all kinds - helped him to realize the "A over the Champs-de-Mars". Eiffel did not fail to appreciate this. He engraved beneath the first-level platform the names of 72 notables who worked alongside him to design, develop, and build La Tour Eiffel.

My friend Jeanne, picture-book-author-and-illustrator-extraodinaire, can lay claim to one such recognition! Her maiden name, Bélanger, is forever embossed on the Tower's structure. It was hidden by paint from the early 20th century until 1986-87 when the Iron Lady underwent a massive restoration. But it's there now, plain as day, between Lagrange and Cuvier on the east pillar.

Jeanne writes, "Jean-Baptiste-Charles-Joseph Bélanger was a mathmetician and hydraulic engineer. Whew! Good thing he didn't write his whole name on the tower! It is a bit long!"

Thanks for sharing this family history, Jeanne!

Do you have a Tower Tale to tell?

Comment here and I'll put it in a post!

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