Shot Tower (Dubuque)
George W. Rogers Company Shot Tower
|Location||Commercial St. and River Front, Dubuque, Iowa|
|Area||less than one acre|
|Architect||C. H. Rogers & Co.|
|Architectural style||Mid-19th century Exotic Revival|
|NRHP Reference #||76000767|
|Added to NRHP||November 07, 1976|
The Shot Tower located in Dubuque, Iowa, is one of the last remaining shot towers in the United States. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and remains a recognized symbol of the city. At its location near the Mississippi River, the Tower can be seen from the riverwalk and is currently undergoing extensive renovations. It stands 120 feet 5 inches (36.70 m) tall.
The tower was built in 1856 to provide lead shot for the military. The invention of the shot tower enabled economical production of many nearly perfect lead spheres of the right size to fit in a musket. To make the shot, molten lead was poured through a grate at the top of the tower. The droplets that fell from the grate were of relatively uniform size, and the fall provided enough time for the liquid-metal droplet to form into a sphere before landing in the water below. The water cooled the lead to its solid state, retaining the spherical shape.
The shot tower struggled almost immediately due to economic downturn from the Panic of 1857. When the Civil War broke, the Union Army purchased shot from towers in St. Louis, Missouri. A St. Louis company, Chadbourne & Co., purchased the Dubuque tower, but did not use it. After the war, the Standard Lumber Company used it as a fire watchtower.
The tower was abandoned after a series of fires in 1911 destroyed the local lumber industry and damaged the tower’s wooden interior. The fire was determined to be arson, but no one was ever arrested. In 1976, the tower was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Tuckpointing and repairs soon followed, and in 2004, the Shot Tower became part of ongoing riverfront renovations.
- Staff (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
- Brick, Greg A. (2004). Iowa Underground: A Guide to the State's Subterranean Treasures. Trails Books. p. 112. ISBN 978-1931599399.
- State of Wisconsin 1989-1990 Blue Book. Madison, WI: Department of Administration, Document Sales. 1989. p. 234.
- "Shot Tower". City of Dubuque. Retrieved 21 January 2010.
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