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Eiffel Tower replica.

America's Oldest Eiffel Tower

Field review by the editors.

Tyndall, South Dakota

The Eiffel Tower in France was completed in 1889. Nine years later, in 1898, this replica -- the first of several downsized Tower tributes to appear across the U.S. -- was erected in the county seat of French-sounding Bon Homme County, South Dakota.

The Tower was built by the Canton Bridge Company in Ohio, and its metalwork does resemble old wrought iron truss bridges. But the reason why it was built is not known. It's probably the Bon Homme connection, although old residents interviewed years after the fact gave conflicting alternate explanations. One was that the town had simply wanted a really tall flagpole, and that the bridge company made the Eiffel Tower on its own. Another was that the Tower was built that way to serve as a triangulation marker. A third was that it was meant to be a Spanish-American War memorial, although that would have had nothing to do with France.

The only aspect of the Tower that all sources agree on was that it cost $200.

America's Oldest Eiffel Tower

W. Cherry St., Tyndall, SD
West of downtown, in front of the county courthouse, on the north side of W. Cherry St. between N. Washington and Holly Sts.
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