As of Tuesday, March 14, Paris has its own sculpture paying homage to the iconic Eiffel Tower. While other cities, like Paris, Texas, and Paris, Tenn., boast their own recreations of the popular …
As of Tuesday, March 14, Paris has its own sculpture paying homage to the iconic Eiffel Tower. While other cities, like Paris, Texas, and Paris, Tenn., boast their own recreations of the popular tourist attraction, the minds behind the new sculpture believe it to be a unique take on the original.
The metal tower, standing 21 feet tall, can be spotted on the northeast corner of Kiwanis Park by Twin Lakes. The project was funded by the Paris Chamber of Commerce.
“It was my dream,” said Chamber Executive Director Linda Lane. “People always ask, ‘where’s your Eiffel Tower?’”
Tourists will no longer wonder why the world wonder has no presence in East Central Illinois. The shiny black frame of the monument greets visitors as they enter Paris from the north.
“It’ll be a tourist attraction,” said Lane. “I can’t believe it’s finally happening.”
Lane’s excitement and relief are only matched by that of John Chittick — the monument’s mastermind and engineer. When asked how he felt seeing the sculpture nestled in its new home, Chittick was ecstatic.
“I’m tickled,” he exclaimed. “I’ve just been looking at it sideways for so long.”
The Chamber covered the cost of materials and Chittick assembled the piece at his residence. In total, Chittick estimates the project took roughly 140 hours of work spread across 18 months, to complete.
The project was a demanding one, and Chittick’s patience was put to the test as he tried to configure the monument’s unique twist.
“I actually had to sit down and pull out my college calculus textbook,” he explained.
To obtain the prominent twist of the sculpture, which was based on a pair of smaller models he made previously, Chittick initially thought he might accidentally compress the entire structure. Fortunately, after consulting other engineers in his family and doing some high-level math, he arrived at the proportional, unshrunk dimensions of the final design.
Chittick welded three separate structures before using bolts to join them together, creating the final product. After applying black, weather-resistant paint, the monument was complete.
German’s Towing was enlisted to help relocate the sculpture to its new home. Currently, the piece is bolted and strapped to the ground, but will eventually rest atop a concrete memorial near its current location.
Chittick donated his time on the project under one condition — the sculpture would be dedicated as a monument to local men and women who have served in the Peace Corps. Chittick previously served right out of college and returned to the Corps earlier in the week with his wife, Kristin.
After completing their training, they will be deployed to Jamaica, where he will develop sustainable agricultural solutions for local communities, and she will work to promote literacy among children and families. The Chitticks follow a line of local men and women who have served in a similar capacity.
“There’s roughly 15 (people) I know of from Edgar County,” Chittick recalled.
While Chittick will be in Jamaica for roughly 27 months after training, his monument will stand for generations to come as a testament to the hard work and service of local people. Plus, it should bring some flair to Edgar County’s own “City of Lights.”