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Columbia University Digital Knowledge Ventures The Architecture and Development of New York City with Andrew S. Dolkart
image The Birth of the Skyscraper The First Elevator
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The First Elevator
Height Sells
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So once you had the elevator, you could build much taller than seven-and-a-half stories. And in fact, in the next few years, a few other tall buildings began to appear in New York. The second office building with an elevator was built for the Western Union Company and the third building with an elevator was built by the New York Tribune.

Newspapers were another kind of business that saw the marketing potential of the skyscraper and of architecture. The New York Tribune built about a nine-story building on Park Row, right across City Hall Park from Broadway. So this was a very visible building as people were commuting up and down Broadway. And they capped the building with a tower that had a clock on it, so as you were rushing to work, you would check out the clock to see if you were on time. Above the clock it says "The Tribune." So while you were looking at the clock to see what time it was, you were also reading an advertisement for the Tribune. And the idea was that you would go out and spend your few pennies on the Tribune rather than on the Times or the Post or any of the many other newspapers in New York.

This building was designed by Richard Morris Hunt, and this was a very radical building. It was built out of red brick with black-brick trim, so you really could not miss the building. The red and the black were very pizzazzy and they really attract attention to the building. Also, like the Roosevelt Building, the structure of this building is very evident. You can see the strong verticals in the design, which emphasize exactly where the structural members are. But this building was built out of traditional construction. The walls are actually bearing the weight. So it is a skyscraper because it has an elevator and the upper floors are now accessible, but it does not have any bearing or novel technology in the building. Iron is beginning to be used in the structure of the buildings, but the walls are still supporting the weight of this building.


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