A long time ago I posted a question on the SDMB about the official names of the White House and the Pentagon. IIRC, it turned out that both names were, in fact, official these days. But the White House, at least, was called something else (the Executive Mansion, or something) before being formally rechristened by some early 20th century president.
Well, what about the “Eiffel Tower”? I assume that’s the official name today, but surely it could not have been the name of the thing when it was originally planned. I’ll bet it was called something else – the Exposition Tower or something. So, what was the original name and when did the official switch happen?
I checked several sites like this one and couldn’t find any reference to any other name but Eiffel Tower.
In short: it’s always been the Eiffel Tower.
Of course not. Since it’s in France, its official name is French: la Tour Eiffel. As far as I can tell, it’s always been called that.
According to this Monsieur Eiffel’s original name for the tower was the 300-metre tower. It was Eiffel’s detractors who dubbed it the Eiffel Tower.
And what were their names?
The name was first used on February 14th 1887, as “la tour de M. Eiffel” in a letter published in the newspaper Le Temps that decried the then-incomplete project. The letter was signed by several of the most prominent members of the cultural scene such as Charles Gounod, Guy de Maupassant, Alexandre Dumas (son), Sully Prudhomme, William Bouguereau, etc.
In a reply to this letter, Gustave Eiffel refers to the tower as “la Tour” (the Tower) with a capital ‘T’. See here.
There are two cites in the New York Times from 1886 calling it the Eiffel Tower. That has nothing to do with it’s official name at the time of the exposition, but it predates the cites from the official website of the Eiffel Tower.
In their defense, electronic database searching makes research so much easier than the old fashioned way.
In all of the stories from major US newspapers in 1889 during the opening of the exposition, it’s always called the “Eiffel tower.”