Television Tower on Empire State Building, New York City, 1951
Suggested Teaching Instructions
Chrysler's claim to the tallest building was short-lived, however. Before the Chrysler Building opened, Raskob broke ground for the Empire State Building. Construction of the Empire State Building began on March 17, 1930. Over ten million bricks, 200,000 cubic feet of Indiana limestone, and 60,000 tons of steel were used in this towering building. With over 3,000 workers on the project, however, the Empire State Building rose with amazing speed. Four and one-half floors were framed each week. The entire building took only one year and forty-five days to complete. The official opening of the building took place May 1, 1931.
Standing 1,454 feet high from the ground to the top of the lightning rod, the Empire State Building held the record for the tallest building in the world for forty years. From the observation deck on the 86th floor, you can see five states including New York on a clear day. Originally, the building's high peak, or mast, was designed as a place where blimps could tie up to the building. However, the wind at this height made such a feat difficult, and the idea was abandoned after several failed attempts. Now the mast is the base of a television tower on top of the building.