To celebrate the 100th edition of our Construction Buzz Newsletter, we’ve delved into the archives to bring you some of the most influential construction projects from the last 100 years, exactly as they were reported at the time.
The construction of the Empire State Building was part of an intense competition in New York for the title of "world's tallest building". Two other projects fighting for the title, 40 Wall Street and the Chrysler Building, were still under construction when work began. Each held the title for less than a year, as the Empire State Building surpassed them upon its completion, on April 11, 1931, 12 days ahead of schedule, just 410 days after construction commenced. The building was officially opened on May 1, 1931 in dramatic fashion, when United States President Herbert Hoover turned on the building's lights with the push of a button from Washington, D.C.
Wall Street Journal, 2 May 1931
EMPIRE STATE BUILDING
Government, state and city officials and prominent business men participated in ceremonies formally dedicating the new Empire State Building Friday. President Hoover pressed a button in Washington illuminating the lobby of the new building, and former Govenor Alfred E. Smith, president of Empire State Inc., read a telegram if congratulations from the President. Govenoor Roosevelt, Mayor Walker, R. H. Shreve, the architect, Paul Starrett, the builder, and others spoke.
The new building which is the world’s tallest structure, rising 1,250 feet above the street level, or 102 stories to the mooring mast, was completed in a year’s time. The building will house 25,000 tenants on 86 rentable floors, and about one-quarter of the space is slated to be already rented.