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WOOL WORTH BUILDING The Woolworth Building, at 233 Broadway, Manhattan, New York City, designed by architect Cass

Gilbert and completed in


1913, is one of the oldest skyscrapers in the United States. The original site for the building was purchased by F. W. Woolworth
and his real estate agent Edward J. Hogan by April 15, 1910, from the Trenor Luther Park Estate and other owners for $1.65
million. By January 18, 1911, Woolworth and Hogan had acquired the final site for the project, totaling $4.5 million. More than a
century after the start of its construction, it remains, at 241.4 meters (792 ft), one of the fifty tallest buildings in the United States
as well as one of the twenty tallest buildings in New York City. It has been a National Historic Landmark since 1966, and a New
York City landmark since 1983.
The Woolworth Building was designed in the neo-Gothic style by the architect Cass Gilbert, who Frank Woolworth
commissioned in 1910 to design a 20-story office building as the F. W. Woolworth Company's new corporate headquarters on
Broadway, between Park Place and Barclay Street in Lower Manhattan, opposite City Hall. Originally designed to be 420 feet
(130 m) high, the building was eventually elevated to 792 feet (241 m). At its opening, the Woolworth Building was 60 stories tall
and had over 5,000 windows. The construction cost was US$13.5 million. With Irving National Exchange Bank Woolworth set up
the Broadway-Park Place Company to finance the building, but by May 1914, had purchased all of the shares from the bank, thus
owning the building outright. On completion, the Woolworth building topped the record set by the Metropolitan Life Insurance
Company Tower as the world's tallest building.
The building opened on April 24, 1913. President Woodrow Wilson turned the lights on by way of a button in Washington, D.C.
that evening.
Given its resemblance to European Gothic cathedrals, the structure was called "The Cathedral of Commerce" by the Reverend S.
Parkes Cadman in a booklet of the same title published in 1916.[8][9][10] It remained the tallest building in the world until the
construction of 40 Wall Street and the Chrysler Building, also in New York City, in 1930; an observation deck on the 57th floor
attracted visitors until 1941.
The building's tower, flush with the main frontage on Broadway, joins an office block base with a narrow interior court for light.
The exterior decoration was cast in limestone-colored, glazed architectural terra-cotta panels. Strongly articulated piers, carried
without interrupting cornicesright to the pyramidal cap, give the building its upward thrust. The Gothic detailing concentrated at
the highly visible crown is over scaled, able to be read from the street level several hundred feet below.
Engineers Gunvald Aus and Kort Berle designed the steel frame, supported on massive caissons that penetrate to the bedrock. The
high-speed elevators were innovative, and the building's high office-to-elevator ratio made the structure profitable.
The ornate, cruciform lobby, is "one of the most spectacular of the early 20th century in New York City".It is covered in Skyros
veined marble, has a vaulted ceiling, mosaics, a stained-glass ceiling light and bronze fittings. Over the balconies of the
mezzanine are the murals Labor and Commerce. Corbel sculptures include Gilbert with a model of the building, Aus taking a
girder's measurements, and Woolworth counting nickels. Woolworth's private office, revetted in marble in the French Empire
style, has been preserved.
The building's facade was restored between 1977 and 1981 by the Ehrenkrantz Group, during which much of the terra-cotta was
replaced with cast stone and Gothic ornament was removed.