Built of limestone and brick, the narrow Shot Tower has been likened to an Egyptian obelisk. It was used until 1862 for the production of lead shot for guns. Molten lead was dropped from the top, forming perfect spheres before falling into a cooling tank below.
An important early industry for the city, it was the presence of lead which attracted Julien Dubuque to this site and begin mining in 1788.
The tower was stabilized in 1959 after years of neglect, and was placed on the National Register of Historic places in 1976. It remains one of the city's important landmarks.
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