Where the Jones Fall Expressway heading south spills into President Street and intersects Fayette, it’s hard to miss the Phoenix Shot Tower.
At 215 feet, nine inches, it stood as the tallest building in the U.S. from 1828 until about 1846. From the top of the tower’s inside, height and gravity combined to morph molten lead into 2.5 millions of pounds of dropshot, similar to BBs, every year.
“That type of ammo was widely used for game hunting — not for killing people,” said Paula Hankins, who’s served since 2005 as the executive director of nonprofit Carroll Museums. It’s Hankins’ organization that leases the Phoenix Shot Tower from the city, which owns it, and is responsible for the restoration of the tower, keeping it open to the public, the exhibits inside and programming.
Although, it’s difficult to know if the public knows about the history of the tower. For that, Carroll Museums hopes people’s love of smartphone apps will help out.
Beginning Monday, a round of invitees will be the first to try out the new Phoenix Shot Tower mobile game for iOS. The game itself will be “based on the science of making the dropshot,” Hankins said, as sort of an introduction to a designated National Historic Landmark that commuters to downtown Baltimore pass daily. Players will be making dropshot to reach higher levels, and facts about the tower will be shared in the form of trivia when levels are completed.
Today is the last day to register for the testing round. REGISTER HERE.
The new mobile game comes just as Carroll Museums is fundraising for a major restoration of the tower. Hankins said the stairs inside need restoring, and she hopes to upgrade the stairs to make them safer so people can climb to the top. There’s brick and mortar restoration to be done to some of the tower’s 1.1 million bricks. And some of the money will also go toward new exhibits and programs, she said.
By early September, the Phoenix Shot Tower mobile game will be available to the public.