Study for Woolworth Building, New York


On April 24, 1913, President Woodrow Wilson pressed a button in Washington, DC, that first illuminated the more than 5,000 windows in the 60-story Woolworth Building, the tallest building in the world at that time. Located on Broadway in lower Manhattan, New York City, the building was a triumph of American construction technology and architectural prowess. Known as "the Cathedral of Commerce," it was clad in gleaming architectural terra-cotta, with a gilded roof ascending to 793 feet (233 meters). Shown here is a sketch elevation of the building by its architect, Cass Gilbert (1859–1934). Gilbert was born in Zanesville, Ohio, and studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His other important works include the U.S. Supreme Court Building in Washington (1935) and the campuses of the University of Minnesota and the University of Texas at Austin. The Woolworth Building was the headquarters of the F.W. Woolworth Company, a chain of five-and-ten-cent stores founded by Frank Winfield Woolworth (1852–1919) and his brother, Charles S. Woolworth (1856–1957). The building became an international symbol of New York City and America's "can-do" spirit in the early 20th century.

Last updated: May 24, 2017