Dale Farm families wrongfooted Basildon council today by applying for the site's front gates to be placed on the Heritage list.
If successful the application to English Heritage would grant the gates official protection status.
The entrance, built in 2006 and replete with scaffolding, barricades and crow's nests, has kept out an army of Basildon council bailiffs brought in to evict the families in recent weeks.
Resident Kathleen McCarthy said the bid was about honouring a historic struggle for the traveller community.
"The tower is all that stands between ourselves and the bailiffs," she said.
"As long as it remains standing we know there are people outside our community who still care about our rights."
English Heritage guidelines state that anyone can put forward a building or site for designation.
But in an ironic twist its officials then consult the local planning authority - Basildon council - on the gate's "special architectural and historic interest."
The community is home to more than 1,000 Irish travellers, with the disputed half of the site housing 80 families.
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