By Dave Caplan
The Woolworth Building, one of the most historic and beautiful buildings in New York City, is located at 233 Broadway in lower Manhattan across from City Hall Park. The man responsible for creating this landmark was Frank W. Woolworth, one of the first great retailers who started the Woolworth five and dime chain store.
Woolworth wanted to create a skyscraper which resembled the House of Commons in London, England. Cass Gilbert one of the great architects of the time was hired to create Woolworth’s masterpiece. Woolworth plunked down 13.5 million dollars of his own money for its construction.
After nearly three years of construction, the building opened on April 24th 1913. It surpassed the Met Life Building as the tallest building in the world and would keep that title until 1930 when 40 Wall St and the Chrysler building were completed. In 1930 an observation deck opened on the 57th floor and guests enjoyed the beautiful views until it was closed in 1941. Soaring to 792 feet with 60 floors, its resemblance to European Gothic Cathedrals earned it the nickname “The Cathedral of Commerce”.
It was particularly known for its unique, ornate Terra-cotta exterior. Considered one of the most spectacular of the early 20th Century, the lobby of the Woolworth Building is covered in Skyros veined marble has a vaulted ceiling, mosaics and a stained glass ceiling light.
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