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A Shot in Dubuque

By Linda Tancs

Standing sentinel over Dubuque, Iowa, is the city’s icon—a 120-foot-tall shot tower. One of few remaining in the United States, it’s the only one west of the Mississippi River. Shot towers were designed for the production of lead shot balls (ammunition), which assumed their spherical shape as the molten lead fell from the top of the tower to a water basin below. Used both prior to and during the Civil War for lead shot production, Iowa’s tower was subsequently used as a watchtower. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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