The Phoenix Shot Tower was the tallest structure in the United States when it was completed in 1828, and remained so until 1846. In the past, shot towers were designed to create an ordinance for cannon and small arms. The process was to drop molten lead from the top of the tower through a vat of cold water at the bottom of the tower. While in operation, the Phoenix Shot Tower made more than 2.5 million pounds of drop shot. According to the Carroll Museum that preserves the tower and offers tours, the Phoenix Shot Tower is comprised of approximately 1.1 million bricks.
The Phoenix Shot Tower was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1971 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.