Time and History 2:05 P.M. The Eiffel Tower is Opened

About major and minor historical events around the clock such as the opening of the Eiffel Tower for the first time at 2:05 in the afternoon.


2:05 in the Afternoon

March 31, 1889. The Eiffel Tower was officially opened by its designer, Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, with the unfurling of the tricolor and a 21-gun salute. Eiffel had wanted the ceremony to be a quiet one, attended only by himself and his workers. Instead 400 journalists and various officials and members of Parliament climbed the 1,671 steps to the summit. The procession took 55 minutes to get to the top. The 985-ft. tower was the star attraction of the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1889.

When the plans were first approved, contemporary artists said: "We write to express our indignant protest, in the name of taste, and the threat to the art and history of France, against the erection in the heart of our capital of the useless and monstrous Eiffel Tower, which public malice, so often expressive of common sense and fairness, has already christened the 'Tower of Babel.' Does the City of Paris intend to associate any longer with the baroque and commercial ideas of a machine builder, which can only lead to irreparable ugliness and disgrace? For there is no doubt that the Eiffel Tower, which even America, commercially minded as it is, would refuse to have, is the disgrace of Paris." Among the signatories of this protest were Alexandre Dumas fils. Sully Prudhomme, Guy de Maupassant, J. K. Huysmans, and Charles Gounod. The tower took almost 2 years to build and cost precisely 7,799,401 francs and 31 centimes. Still not impressed, Maupassant left home saying, "I have left Paris, and even France, because of the Eiffel Tower."

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