A Piece of the Eiffel Tower's Original Staircase Is Going Up for Auction

Alexandre Gustave Eiffel (left) stands on the Eiffel Tower staircase in this 1889 photo.
Alexandre Gustave Eiffel (left) stands on the Eiffel Tower staircase in this 1889 photo.
General Photographic Agency/Getty Images

Snapping a photo of the Eiffel Tower at night is a must for tourists visiting Paris (even if it is technically illegal), but if you want a little something extra to remember the historic landmark by, why not take a piece of it home with you? As CNN reports, a section of la Tour Eiffel’s original staircase is being sold today by French auction house Artcurial.

The artifact will likely set you back some $40,0000 to $60,000 according to early estimates, but then again, many would consider it a priceless piece of history. The 25-step spiral staircase stands at about 13 feet tall and was part of the stairway that connected the second and third levels of the tower, which was built by French engineer Alexandre Gustave Eiffel for the 1889 Paris Exposition. The stairway remained in place until 1983, when it was replaced by elevators.

Considering that the Eiffel Tower stands 1063 feet tall (including the antenna on top) and has a total of 1710 steps (visitors can only climb the roughly 700 steps leading to the first and second platforms), the spiral staircase is a relatively small part of the overall structure. Nonetheless, its architectural and historical significance have made it a valuable artifact. The original staircase was divided into 24 sections, some of which were sent off to different institutions.

A couple sections of the staircase are on view at two Paris museums—the Musée d'Orsay and the Science and Industry Museum—while another piece can be found near the Statue of Liberty in New York City.

Other pieces were auctioned off to private collectors. In 2013, a section of staircase measuring more than 11 feet tall was snapped up for $249,000, and in 2016 another piece sold for $593,000—which makes the estimates on the current piece seem like a steal. 

[h/t CNN]

Wayfair’s Fourth of July Clearance Sale Takes Up to 60 Percent Off Grills and Outdoor Furniture

Wayfair/Weber
Wayfair/Weber

This Fourth of July, Wayfair is making sure you can turn your backyard into an oasis while keeping your bank account intact with a clearance sale that features savings of up to 60 percent on essentials like chairs, hammocks, games, and grills. Take a look at some of the highlights below.

Outdoor Furniture

Brisbane bench from Wayfair
Brisbane/Wayfair

- Jericho 9-Foot Market Umbrella $92 (Save 15 percent)
- Woodstock Patio Chairs (Set of Two) $310 (Save 54 percent)
- Brisbane Wooden Storage Bench $243 (Save 62 percent)
- Kordell Nine-Piece Rattan Sectional Seating Group with Cushions $1800 (Save 27 percent)
- Nelsonville 12-Piece Multiple Chairs Seating Group $1860 (Save 56 percent)
- Collingswood Three-Piece Seating Group with Cushions $410 (Save 33 percent)

Grills and Accessories

Dyna-Glo electric smoker.
Dyna-Glo/Wayfair

- Spirit® II E-310 Gas Grill $479 (Save 17 percent)
- Portable Three-Burner Propane Gas Grill $104 (Save 20 percent)
- Digital Bluetooth Electric Smoker $224 (Save 25 percent)
- Cuisinart Grilling Tool Set $38 (Save 5 percent)

Outdoor games

American flag cornhole game.
GoSports

- American Flag Cornhole Board $57 (Save 19 percent)
- Giant Four in a Row Game $30 (Save 6 percent)
- Giant Jenga Game $119 (Save 30 percent)

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The Tallest Cemetery Monument in New Orleans Was Built Out of Spite

baldeaglebluff, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0
baldeaglebluff, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

Spite has motivated many construction projects, from a 40-foot-tall fence in California to an 8-foot-wide home in Massachusetts. But when it comes to pettiness, few structures can beat Moriarty Monument in New Orleans's Metairie Cemetery. Reaching 80 feet high, the memorial to Mary Moriarty was an excuse for her widower to show off his wealth to everyone who rejected him.

New Orleans is famous for its cemeteries, which feature above-ground mausoleums. The soil in the region is too wet and swampy to dig traditional 6-foot graves, so instead, bodies are interred at the same level as the living. The most impressive of these graveyards may be Metairie Cemetery on Metairie Road and Pontchartrain Boulevard. Built in 1872, it lays claim to the most above-ground monuments and mausoleums in the city, the tallest of which is the Moriarty Monument.

The granite tomb was commissioned by Daniel A. Moriarty, an Irish immigrant who moved to New Orleans with little money in the mid-1800s. It was there he met his wife, Mary Farrell, and together they started a successful business and invested their new income into real estate. The couple was able to build a significant fortune this way, but Moriarty struggled to shake off his reputation as a poor foreigner. The city's upper class refused to accept him into their ranks—something Moriarty never got over. After his wife died in 1887, he came up with an idea that would honor her memory and hopefully tick off the pretentious aristocrats at the same time.

By 1905, he had constructed her the grandest memorial he could afford. In addition to the towering steeple, which is a topped with a cross, the site is adorned with four statues at the base. These figures represent faith, hope, charity, and memory, while the monument itself is meant to be a not-so-virtuous middle finger to all those who insulted its builder.

Gerard Schoen, community outreach director for Metairie Cemetery, told WGNO ABC, “The reason Daniel wanted his property to be the tallest was so his wife could look down and snub every 'blue blood' in the cemetery for all eternity." More than a century later, it still holds that distinction.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]