Timeline of Skyscrapers - List of Early Skyscrapers

The early skyscrapers were a tall, commercial buildings built between 1884 and 1939, mainly in the American cities of New York and Chicago. They had iron or steel internal structure to bear the building's weight and elevators as to ease the access to higher floors. There is no definite opinion about which building was the first skyscraper but we’ll present early skyscrapers here in chronological order of construction.

  • Equitable Life Building was constructed in 1870 in New York City, and had 40m height. It was the first office building to have passenger elevators and was, when it was finished, the tallest non-church building in the world.
  • Home Insurance Building (in Chicago, finished in 1884, 42m) had an advanced steel-frame construction. Because of that also considered for the first skyscraper.
  • New York World Building (1890, 94m) designed by George Browne Post for newspaper, The New York World. Also known as the Pulitzer Building.
Picture Of Metropolitan Life Tower
  • Masonic Temple Building was built in Chicago, Illinois in 1892 and was 92 m high. It was designed by the firm of Burnham and Root.
  • Manhattan Life Insurance Building (1894, 106m) designed by architects of Kimball & Thompson. It was the first skyscraper to pass 100 m.
  • Milwaukee City Hall (1895, 108m) was designed by architect Henry C. Koch. Its foundation consists of 2,584 white pine pilers which were driven in to the marshy land.
  • Park Row Building (1899, 119m) designed by R. H. Robertson and is 29 floors tall. When it was finished, approximately 4,000 people a day worked there.
  • Philadelphia City Hall (1901, 167m) designed by Scottish-born architect John McArthur, Jr. Its weight is not held by steel construction but by granite and brick walls up to 6.7 m thick.
  • Singer Building (1908, 186.57m) made as headquarters of the Singer Manufacturing Company. It was demolished in 1968 and when it was demolished it was the tallest building ever to be demolished.
  • Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower (1909, 213.36m) was designed by the architectural firm of Napoleon LeBrun & Sons and modeled after the Campanile in Venice, Italy.
  • Woolworth Building (1913, 241m) designed by architect Cass Gilbert and it is still one of the fifty tallest buildings in the United States as well as one of the twenty tallest buildings in New York City.
  • Bank of Manhattan Trust building (1930, 283m) designed by H. Craig Severance, Yasuo Matsui and Shreve & Lamb. It was the tallest building in the world for very short time and was soon surpassed by a spire attached to the Chrysler Building a few months later.
  • Chrysler Building (1930, 319.9m) designed in Art Deco style by architect William Van Alen. While it was built no workers died during the construction of this skyscraper although it was was built ina frantic pace of four floors per week.
  • Empire State Building (1931, 381m) was designed by William F. Lamb from the architectural firm Shreve, Lamb and Harmon, has 109 floors and was the world's tallest building for nearly 40 years which is the longest for now.
Picture Of Metropolitan Life Tower
Picture Of Chrysler Building
Picture Of Chrysler Building
Picture Of Nyc Empire State Building