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The Corner: 1905

The Corner: 1905

New York circa 1905. "J.P. Morgan building, 23 Wall Street at Broad." The Drexel Building, eclipsed by its gilded tenant at the nexus of the financial universe. 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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I see what you're doing

Of all the people that stopped their motion long enough to be clearly displayed in this exposure, the man on the extreme left seems to be staring at the photographer. His visage has an eerie look to it.

Drexel or Morgan?

The Drexel Building was named when J.P. Morgan was still the junior partner of Drexel, Morgan & Co. When Anthony Drexel Jr died, Morgan reorganized as J.P.Morgan & Co. He posted the new name in stone above the door, but the Drexel heirs still owned the building, so the name stayed. There's a thorough history of the building here.

A Rare Case of Replacement

This building was replaced by a new home for J. P. Morgan & Co. designed by Trowbridge and Livingston and built 1913-1914. The new building is only three stories high (some accounts include the basement as a fourth story), which makes it significantly lower than the six-story predecessor building shown here. Considering that this probably was - and very likely still is - the single most expensive piece of real estate in Manhattan, it is highly unusual that a taller building was replaced by a shorter one. The Morgan Bank was so supremely confident of its place in the financial world that it never put any kind of sign indicating its name on the new building's exterior. It is worth noting that Trowbridge and Livingston also designed the buildings that occupy two other corners at the intersection of Broad Street and Wall Street: the Bankers Trust Building (1910-1912) and the New York Stock Exchange Addition (1920-1922). This same architecture firm also designed the skyscraper that "wraps around" around the Morgan Bank Building (and is now physically connected to it), the Equitable Trust Building of 1927.

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