This tall tower stands near the Mississippi River in an industrial part of Dubuque, Iowa. The region had several lead mines and the tower was used for making shot for guns. The lead was heated until molten liquid and then poured from the top of the tower through perforated metal. as the lead fell through the air it was shaped into spears and cooled and then landed in a pool of water where the shot was then collected.
The Dubuque shot tower was constructed in 1856 and stands 120 feet tall. the first seven stories are made from Galena Dolemite stone and the upper stories are made from red brick. The tower operated during the Civil War making shot. With more efficient ways of making lead shot the tower was sold to Standard Lumber Company and was then used as a fire watchtower. In 1911, the tower’s interior staircase was destroyed by a fire and it sat abandoned for decades. It was saved from decay by a non-profit organization and has been undergoing repairs and restoration.
It stands as a reminder of early manufacturing and an ingenious way of making lead shot as long as you are not the person carrying the led to the top of the stairs.
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