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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • EAT MORE FISH, 1917

Gillender Building: 1900

Gillender Building: 1900

New York circa 1900. "Gillender Building." This improbably slender tower at the corner of Nassau and Wall Streets, one of the tallest buildings in the city when it was completed in 1897, met the wrecking ball in 1910. View full size.

 

Color Not by Shorpy

The Wikipedia article has this exact Detroit Publishing photo -- colorized. Maybe it was a postcard?

[It's a Photochrom produced by the Detroit Photographic/Publishing Company. - tterrace]

Wrecking ball in 1910

I presume there were no controlled implosions in 1910. How exactly did one knock down a skyscraper 100 years ago?

[It was disassembled starting from the top. See photos in the Wikipedia entry. - Dave]

American Surety

Directly behind and to the left of the Gillender is one of New York's finest early skyscrapers, the American Surety Building at 100 Broadway, completed in 1896. Its architect, Bruce Price, persuaded the owners that a tower like this should be given finished facades on all four sides; indeed, we are looking at the "back" sides in this view, the facades that faced lot lines rather than street frontages. This got the American Surety's owners in hot water when the owner of a neighboring property sued for infringing on his air space -- the cornice near the top projects several feet beyond the lot line.

As for the Gillender itself, although it is sad to contemplate its hasty demise, I have to admit that its replacement, the Bankers Trust tower with its famous stepped pyramidal top, is a much better building.

That's banking business.

The full story of this building you may find on Wikipedia.

Why tear down?

Any ideas why this building lasted only a few years? Unstable design?

[The reasons were financial, not structural. It was replaced by a much bigger skyscraper. - Dave]

Brief existence

I've got underwear that's lasted longer than this place. 13 years?

So young!

"Completed in 1897" meant that it was only 13 years old when demolished. Wow. That's not many years for such a structure.

Short life span

It didn't last very long, did it?

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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