Monday, August 30, 2010

Buildings Standing Tall

Our friend and colleague Pieter Rautenbach is an incredibly knowledgeable man who is passionate about history, it was in fact he who authored the history of the Association which features prominently on He has also written some fantastic articles relating to structures of historical significance, most recently about the Atomic Bomb Dome which withstood the World War II Hiroshima bomb blast.

Pieter is the proud owner of limited edition book relating to the Empire State Building. If I’m not mistaken only 500 copies where ever printed, each one uniquely numbered, and published in the 1930’s to celebrate the opening of the then Worlds Tallest Structure. The book itself is in mint condition, perfectly preserved in its original box which was tailor made specifically for it, it also inspired a blog post titled 102 Storeys, 19 months, 1931.

At the time it was built, there was a fierce three-way race in New York to lay claim to the tallest skyscraper in the city. 40 Wall Street held the title for a brief period when it opened its 927-foot tall tower in 1930. It soon fell to No. 2 when a spire was added to the top of the 1,047-foot tall Chrysler Building. Within months, the Empire State Building topped it at 1,250 feet and held the number No.1 position until the 1970’s.

In 1970 upon completion of the first World Trade Center Tower, it was relegated to the no 2 spot until the tragic events of 11 September 2001.

Amazingly it is again in danger of losing its status, this time to a proposed development just two avenues to the west of it. Read about it on our Forum.

Ernest Roper


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