Frank Woolworth, who made a fortune from shops devoted to dime goods, also left his mark on the New York skyline. In July 1912, a flag was hoisted up the cupola on his new Woolworth Building which towered 792 feet above the street.
It was said at the time, that this was highest point to which men have ever built, having passed the 700 ft. of its only rival, the Metropolitan Tower Building.
The immense structure is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. The last rivet was placed in position by Miss Alberta Claire, “the girl from Wyoming,” who had previously provided New York with sensation by riding up Broadway after 8,000 mile journey horseback from the West.
In 1913, President Wilson pressed a lever in Washington, and the building was officially opened as nearly 100,000 lights shone from 3000 windows.
The sheer weight of the structure was equally as impressive as its height. It pressed upon earth as weight of 206,000,000 lbs.
Demands for rooms on the fifty-fifth or top floor came from poets, artists, inventors, and advertising agents. The extensive system of lifts meant a special control had to be instituted. Each lift was connected by telephone with the controller and with an indicator which showed visually the position of each lift. It was noted:
As a lift passes up and down little glow lamps respond, showing exactly the position of the lift.
WHERE: The Woolworth Building is at 233 Broadway, Manhattan.