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Famous Buildings in New York City: The Woolworth Building

By Jeff Myers

The Woolworth Building, is a lovely Neo-Gothic skyscraper found at 233 Broadway in lower Manhattan. The building is among the fifty tallest buildings in the U.S.. It was built in 1913 and until the completing of 40 Wall Street and the Chrysler Building in 1930, Woolworth was the tallest in the nation. It's still among the top 25 tallest buildings in New York.

Designed by Cass Gilbert

One of the interesting facts about the Woolworth Building is that its designer was Cass Gilbert, an Ohioan who was also the architect for the U.S. Supreme Court building. He's considered a leader in the development of skyscrapers. Gilbert created thirty plans for the building over two years before he decided on the one that we see today.

Commissioned by Frank W. Woolworth

Frank Woolworth founded the Woolworth Company, a chain of "5 and 10" stores. When he comissioned the building, Woolworth paid for the $13,500,000 skyscraper in actual cash.

Struggles with Lewis Pierson

The Woolworth building also housed the Irving Bank, whose president was Lewis Pierson. The Irving Bank was a major building tenant and Pierson's wants were vital to the buildings design. Woolworth and Pierson frequently had animated debates over their differing visions of what the building should look like.

Old Observation Deck

The observation platform was built on the 57th floor, but was closed to the public in 1945.

National Historic Landmark

The Woolwprth Building has been a National Historic Landmark since 1966.

Columbia Records

Beginning in 1913, Columbia Records was one of the first renters and had a very well-known studio in house. The studio was in use as early as 1917.

Frank Woolworth's Private Office

The office is done in the baroque French Empire style and is decorated in marble.

Unplanned Heights

The original plan was that this was only supposed to be around a twelve or sixteen story office building at the corner of Broadway and Park Place, but Woolworth kept acquiring more real estate. The height of the building grew in the same way.


The Woolworth building's colonnade galleries are decorated with caricatures of the skyscraper's patrons. When rental agent Edward Hogan found out he was not among the caricatures made by Paul Jenewein, he was very upset and insisted that his caricature be put in too.

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Ditulis oleh: Faisal Reza Siregar - Thursday, August 22, 2013

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