NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Constructed between 1910 and 1912, the Woolworth Building was the tallest building in the world for 17 years. It was commissioned by Frank Woolworth as the world headquarters for the F.W. Woolworth Company.
CBS2’s Elle McLogan got an inside look at the historic landmark with Helen Curry, who leads private tours of the vintage lobby with Woolworth Tours. Curry also happens to be great-granddaughter of the building’s architect, Cass Gilbert.
“The building is 60 stories tall,” Curry explained. “It was the first use of Otis’s high-speed elevators. It was decided to have lots of small elevators, as opposed to a few big ones, so there are 24 elevators in the lobby at this point.”
The marble lobby features glass mosaics and custom letterboxes. Humorous, grotesque statues along the ceiling resemble figures important to the building’s construction, including Woolworth and Gilbert.
The building’s 792 feet may seem humble when compared to the 2,722-foot-tall Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world today. But at the time of the Woolworth’s opening in 1913, “It was a challenge to get people to feel comfortable in a building this tall,” Curry said.
The ornate detail of the skyscraper did not come cheap. Woolworth paid for the building with $13,500,000 in cash—about $338,000,000 in today’s money.
Woolworth Building Lobby Tours
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