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Anyone know what this stone building is?

Anyone know what this stone building is?


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It's located next to a beach and below a small hill. It has three sides and a large metal grid on top, on each of the three sides is an arch which tapers down toward a small opening on the ground. I came across it while walking a coastal path in wales. I have no idea what it is, or what its purpose could be… does anyone know please?

It's located on a beach between Clarach bay and Borth. It looks like a small castle (without any turrets) and stands about 10 feet tall. The beach is very secluded it's not one used by tourists. Not sure if that helps or not


It's a "single pot lime kiln", adjacent to the beach, at Wallog.

Coal and limestone would have been landed on the beach from small sailing vessels. The burnt lime would then be used to improve the local acidic soils.

There are a number of these kilns in Ceredigion. This particular kiln dates to the early nineteenth century, and is described by Cadw as "a particularly fine example".

More details, including links to further archive items relating to Wallog Lime Kiln, are available in the online database for the National Monuments Record of Wales, Coflein. (Thanks to Nathan Cooper for the link in the comments below).


The Sordid History of Mount Rushmore

Each year, two million visitors walk or roll from the entrance of Mount Rushmore National Memorial, in South Dakota, to the Avenue of Flags, to peer up at the 60-foot visages of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt. Dedicated 75 years ago this month, Mount Rushmore was intended by its creator, Gutzon Borglum, to be a celebration of not only these four presidents but also the nation’s unprecedented greatness. “This colossus is our mark,” he wrote with typical bombast. Yet Borglum’s own sordid story shows that this beloved site is also a testament to the ego and ugly ambition that undergird even our best-known triumphs.

In 1914, Borglum was a sculptor in Connecticut of modest acclaim when he received an inquiry from the elderly president of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, C. Helen Plane, about building a “shrine to the South” near Atlanta. When he first glimpsed “the virgin stone” of his canvas, a quartz hump called Stone Mountain, Borglum later recalled, “I saw the thing I had been dreaming of all my life.” He sketched out a vast sculpture of generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, and was hired.

Workers carve Lincoln, c. 1938-39. (Archives of American Art / Smithsonian Institution) Sculptor Gutzon Borglum poses during the construction of Mount Rushmore, c. 1938-1939. (Archives of American Art / Smithsonian Institution) Borglum (right) at work on the memorial, c.1938-1939 (Archives of American Art / Smithsonian Institution) An unknown sculptor braves precarious working conditions, c. 1938-1939. (Archives of American Art / Smithsonian Institution)

The son of polygamist Mormons from Idaho, Borglum had no ties to the Confederacy, but he had white supremacist leanings. In letters he fretted about a “mongrel horde” overrunning the “Nordic” purity of the West, and once said, “I would not trust an Indian, off-hand, 9 out of 10, where I would not trust a white man 1 out of 10.” Above all, he was an opportunist. He aligned himself with the Ku Klux Klan, an organization reborn—it had faded after the Civil War—in a torch-light ceremony atop Stone Mountain in 1915. While there isn’t proof that Borglum officially joined the Klan, which helped fund the project, “he nonetheless became deeply involved in Klan politics,” John Taliaferro writes in Great White Fathers, his 2002 history of Mount Rushmore.

Borglum’s decision to work with the Klan wasn’t even a sound business proposition. By the mid-1920s, infighting left the group in disarray and fundraising for the Stone Mountain memorial stalled. Around then, the South Dakota historian behind the Mount Rushmore initiative approached Borglum—an overture that enraged Borglum’s Atlanta backers, who fired him on February 25, 1925. He took an ax to his models for the shrine, and with a posse of locals on his heels, fled to North Carolina.

Related Read: Great White Fathers

The true story of Gutzon Borglum and his obsessive quest to create the Mount Rushmore national monument

The Stone Mountain sponsors sandblasted Borglum’s work and hired a new artist, Henry Augustus Lukeman, to execute the memorial, only adding to Borglum’s bitterness. “Every able man in America refused it, and thank God, every Christian,” Borglum later said of Lukeman. “They got a Jew.” (A third sculptor, Walker Kirtland Hancock, completed the memorial in 1972.)

Still, the years in Georgia had given Borglum the expertise to tackle Rushmore, and he began carving in 1927 at age 60. He famously devoted the last 14 years of his life to the project. His son, Lincoln, oversaw the finishing touches.

From supporting the Klan to memorializing Lincoln: What are we to make of that trajectory? Anyone who creates an immensely popular sculpture by dynamiting 450,000 tons of stone from the Black Hills deserves recognition. Taliaferro says we like to think of America as the land of the self-made success, but the “flip side of that coin,” he says, “is that it’s our very selfishness—enlightened, perhaps, but primal in its drive for self-advancement—that is the building block of our red-white-and-blue civilization.” And no one represents that paradox better than Gutzon Borglum.

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This article is a selection from the October issue of Smithsonian magazine


Contents

Proto-Canaanite period

Archaeological evidence suggests that the first settlement was established near Gihon Spring between 4500 and 3500 BCE. The first known mention of the city was in c. 2000 BCE in the Middle Kingdom Egyptian Execration Texts in which the city was recorded as Rusalimum. [11] [12] The root S-L-M in the name is thought to refer to either "peace" (compare with modern Salam or Shalom in modern Arabic and Hebrew) or Shalim, the god of dusk in the Canaanite religion.

Canaanite and New Kingdom Egyptian period

Archaeological evidence suggests that by the 17th century BCE, the Canaanites had built massive walls (4 and 5 ton boulders, 26 feet high) on the eastern side of Jerusalem to protect their ancient water system. [13]

By c. 1550–1400 BCE, Jerusalem had become a vassal to Egypt after the Egyptian New Kingdom under Ahmose I and Thutmose I had reunited Egypt and expanded into the Levant. The Amarna letters contain correspondence from Abdi-Heba, headman [14] of Urusalim and his suzerain Amenhotep III.

The power of the Egyptians in the region began to decline in the 12th century BCE, during the Bronze Age collapse. The Battle of Djahy (Djahy being the Egyptian name for Canaan) in 1178 BCE between Ramesses III and the Sea Peoples marked the beginning of this decline. The gradual loss of a central power gave rise to independent kingdoms in the region. According to the Bible, Jerusalem at this time was known as Jebus and its independent Canaanite inhabitants at this time were known as Jebusites.

Independent Israel and Judah (House of David) period

According to the Bible, the Israelite history of the city began in c. 1000 BCE, with King David's sack of Jerusalem, following which Jerusalem became the City of David and capital of the United Kingdom of Israel. [11] According to the Books of Samuel, the Jebusites managed to resist attempts by the Israelites to capture the city, and by the time of King David were mocking such attempts, claiming that even the blind and lame could defeat the Israelite army. Nevertheless, the masoretic text for the Books of Samuel states that David managed to capture the city by stealth, sending his forces through a "water shaft" and attacking the city from the inside. Archaeologists now view this as implausible as the Gihon spring – the only known location from which water shafts lead into the city – is now known to have been heavily defended (and hence an attack via this route would have been obvious rather than secretive). The older [ citation needed ] Septuagint text, however, suggests that rather than by a water shaft, David's forces defeated the Jebusites by using daggers rather than through the water tunnels coming through the Gihon spring. There was another king in Jerusalem, Araunah, during, and possibly before, David's control of the city, according to the biblical narrative, [15] who was probably the Jebusite king of Jerusalem. [16] The city, which at that point stood upon the Ophel, was, according to the biblical account, expanded to the south, and declared by David to be the capital city of the Kingdom of Israel. David also, according to the Books of Samuel, constructed an altar at the location of a threshing floor he had purchased from Araunah a portion of biblical scholars view this as an attempt by the narrative's author to give an Israelite foundation to a pre-existing sanctuary. [17]

Later, according to the biblical narrative, King Solomon built a more substantive temple, the Temple of Solomon, at a location which the Book of Chronicles equates with David's altar. The Temple became a major cultural centre in the region eventually, particularly after religious reforms such as those of Hezekiah and of Josiah, the Jerusalem temple became the main place of worship, at the expense of other, formerly powerful, ritual centres, such as Shiloh and Bethel. However, according to K. L. Noll, in Canaan and Israel in Antiquity: A Textbook on History and Religion, the Biblical account of the centralization of worship in Jerusalem is a fiction, although by the time of Josiah, the territory he ruled was so small that the Jerusalem temple became de facto the only shrine left. [18] Solomon is also described as having created several other important building works at Jerusalem, including the construction of his palace, and the construction of the Millo (the identity of which is somewhat controversial). Archaeologists are divided over whether the biblical narrative is supported by the evidence from excavations. [19] Eilat Mazar contends that her digging uncovered remains of large stone buildings from the correct time period, while Israel Finkelstein disputes both the interpretation and the dating of the finds. [20] [21]

When the Kingdom of Judah split from the larger Kingdom of Israel (which the Bible places near the end of the reign of Solomon, c. 930 BCE, though Israel Finkelstein and others dispute the very existence of a unified monarchy to begin with [22] ), Jerusalem became the capital of the Kingdom of Judah, while the Kingdom of Israel located its capital at Shechem in Samaria. Thomas L. Thompson argues that it only became a city and capable of acting as a state capital in the middle of the 7th century. [23]

Both the Bible and regional archaeological evidence suggest the region was politically unstable during the period 925–732 BCE. In 925 BCE, the region was invaded by Egyptian Pharaoh Sheshonk I of the Third Intermediate Period, who is possibly the same as Shishak, the first Pharaoh mentioned in the Bible who captured and pillaged Jerusalem. Around 75 years later, Jerusalem's forces were likely involved in an indecisive battle against the Neo-Assyrian King Shalmaneser III in the Battle of Qarqar. According to the bible, Jehoshaphat of Judah was allied to Ahab of the Northern Kingdom of Israel at this time.

The Bible records that shortly after this battle, Jerusalem was sacked by Philistines, Arabs and Ethiopians, who looted King Jehoram's house, and carried off all of his family except for his youngest son Jehoahaz.

Two decades later, most of Canaan including Jerusalem was conquered by Hazael of Aram Damascus. According to the Bible, Jehoash of Judah gave all of Jerusalem's treasures as a tribute, but Hazael proceeded to destroy "all the princes of the people" in the city. And half a century later, the city was sacked by Jehoash of Israel, who destroyed the walls and took Amaziah of Judah prisoner.

By the end of the First Temple Period, Jerusalem was the sole acting religious shrine in the kingdom and a centre of regular pilgrimage a fact which archaeologists generally view as being corroborated by the evidence, [ citation needed ] though there remained a more personal cult involving Asherah figures, which are found spread throughout the land right up to the end of this era. [22]

Assyrian and Babylonian periods

Jerusalem was the capital of the Kingdom of Judah for some 400 years. It had survived an Assyrian siege in 701 BCE by Sennacherib, unlike Samaria, the capital of the northern Kingdom of Israel, that had fallen some twenty years previously. According to the Bible, this was a miraculous event in which an angel killed 185,000 men in Sennacherib's army. According to Sennacherib's own account preserved in the Taylor prism, an inscription contemporary with the event, the king of Judah, Hezekiah, was "shut up in the city like a caged bird" and eventually persuaded Sennacherib to leave by sending him "30 talents of gold and 800 talents of silver, and diverse treasures, a rich and immense booty".

The siege of Jerusalem in 597 BCE led to the city being overcome by the Babylonians, who then took the young King Jehoiachin into Babylonian captivity, together with most of the aristocracy. Zedekiah, who had been placed on the throne by Nebuchadnezzar (the Babylonian king), rebelled, and Nebuchadnezzar, who at the time (587/586 BCE) was ruler of a most powerful empire, recaptured the city, killed Zedekiah's descendants in front of him, and plucked out Zedekiah's eyes so that that would be the last thing he ever saw. The Babylonians then took Zedekiah into captivity, along with prominent members of Judah. The Babylonians then burnt the temple, destroyed the city's walls, and appointed Gedaliah son of Achikam as governor of Judah. After 52 days of rule, Yishmael, son of Netaniah, a surviving descendant of Zedekiah, assassinated Gedaliah after encouragement by Baalis, the king of Ammon. Some of the remaining population of Judah, fearing the vengeance of Nebuchadnezzar, fled to Egypt.


The history of construction

The hunter-gatherers of the late Stone Age, who moved about a wide area in search of food, built the earliest temporary shelters that appear in the archaeological record. Excavations at a number of sites in Europe dated to before 12,000 bce show circular rings of stones that are believed to have formed part of such shelters. They may have braced crude huts made of wooden poles or have weighted down the walls of tents made of animal skins, presumably supported by central poles.

A tent illustrates the basic elements of environmental control that are the concern of construction. The tent creates a membrane to shed rain and snow cold water on the human skin absorbs body heat. The membrane reduces wind speed as well air over the human skin also promotes heat loss. It controls heat transfer by keeping out the hot rays of the sun and confining heated air in cold weather. It also blocks out light and provides visual privacy. The membrane must be supported against the forces of gravity and wind a structure is necessary. Membranes of hides are strong in tension (stresses imposed by stretching forces), but poles must be added to take compression (stresses imposed by compacting forces). Indeed, much of the history of construction is the search for more sophisticated solutions to the same basic problems that the tent was set out to solve. The tent has continued in use to the present. The Saudi Arabian goats’ hair tent, the Mongolian yurt with its collapsible wooden frame and felt coverings, and the American Indian tepee with its multiple pole supports and double membrane are more refined and elegant descendants of the crude shelters of the early hunter-gatherers.

The agricultural revolution, dated to about 10,000 bce , gave a major impetus to construction. People no longer traveled in search of game or followed their herds but stayed in one place to tend their fields. Dwellings began to be more permanent. Archaeological records are scanty, but in the Middle East are found the remains of whole villages of round dwellings called tholoi, whose walls are made of packed clay all traces of roofs have disappeared. In Europe tholoi were built of dry-laid stone with domed roofs there are still surviving examples (of more recent construction) of these beehive structures in the Alps. In later Middle Eastern tholoi a rectangular antechamber or entrance hall appeared, attached to the main circular chamber—the first examples of the rectangular plan form in building. Still later the circular form was dropped in favour of the rectangle as dwellings were divided into more rooms and more dwellings were placed together in settlements. The tholoi marked an important step in the search for durability they were the beginning of masonry construction.

Evidence of composite construction of clay and wood, the so-called wattle-and-daub method, is also found in Europe and the Middle East. The walls were made of small saplings or reeds, which were easy to cut with stone tools. They were driven into the ground, tied together laterally with vegetable fibres, and then plastered over with wet clay to give added rigidity and weatherproofing. The roofs have not survived, but the structures were probably covered with crude thatch or bundled reeds. Both round and rectangular forms are found, usually with central hearths.

Heavier timber buildings also appeared in Neolithic (New Stone Age) cultures, although the difficulties of cutting large trees with stone tools limited the use of sizable timbers to frames. These frames were usually rectangular in plan, with a central row of columns to support a ridgepole and matching rows of columns along the long walls rafters were run from the ridgepole to the wall beams. The lateral stability of the frame was achieved by burying the columns deep in the ground the ridgepole and rafters were then tied to the columns with vegetable fibres. The usual roofing material was thatch: dried grasses or reeds tied together in small bundles, which in turn were tied in an overlapping pattern to the light wooden poles that spanned between the rafters. Horizontal thatched roofs leak rain badly, but, if they are placed at the proper angle, the rainwater runs off before it has time to soak through. Primitive builders soon determined the roof pitch that would shed the water but not the thatch. Many types of infill were used in the walls of these frame houses, including clay, wattle and daub, tree bark (favoured by American Woodland Indians), and thatch. In Polynesia and Indonesia, where such houses are still built, they are raised above the ground on stilts for security and dryness the roofing is often made of leaves and the walls are largely open to allow air movement for natural cooling. Another variation of the frame was found in Egypt and the Middle East, where timbers were substituted for bundles of reeds.


Read the Bible

Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. 25:10,13 Luke 12:40 Philippians 4:5 James 5:9 Revelation 19:7 Reciprocal: Exodus 19:15 - Be ready Judges 20:34 - knew not Ecclesiastes 8:7 - he knoweth Amos 4:12 - prepare Matthew 24:36 - General Matthew 24:42 - for Matthew 25:6 - at Mark 13:35 - General Luke 12:39 - General John 21:22 - If James 5:7 - unto

Cross-References

Gill's Notes on the Bible

Therefore be ye also ready . Or prepared for the coming of the son of man which as it is said to be like a thief in the night, expresses the suddenness of it, may excite to watchfulness and readiness which readiness is to be understood, not of a readiness to do the will and work of God, though this is absolutely necessary as to watch and pray, to hear the word preached, to confess Christ, and give a reason of the hope that is in us, to communicate to the support of the cause and interest of Christ, and to suffer for his sake but of a preparedness to meet the Lord in the way of his judgments, when desolating judgments are coming on the earth, such as these in Jerusalem by faith and trust in the power, providence, and care of God by humiliation before him, and resignation to his will: and if this can be applied to a readiness for a future state after death for the second coming of Christ, and last judgment this lies not in a dependence on the absolute mercy of God nor in an external humiliation for sin nor in an abstinence from grosser sins, or in mere negative holiness nor in any outward, legal, civil, and moral righteousness nor in a submission to Gospel ordinances nor in a mere profession of religion but in being in Christ, having on his righteousness, and being washed in his blood and also in regeneration and sanctification, in having true knowledge of Christ, and faith in him for all which it becomes men to be concerned, as also all believers to be actually, as well as habitually ready being in the lively exercise of grace, and cheerful discharge of duty, though without trusting to either. And such a readiness in either branch of it, is not of themselves, but lies in the grace of God, which gives a meetness for glory and in the righteousness of Christ, the fine linen, clean and white, which being granted by him, his people are made ready for him: and as for their faith, and the exercise of it, and their constant performance of duty, these are not from the strength of nature and the power of freewill, but from the Spirit of God and his grace who makes ready a people prepared for the Lord, and all according to the ancient settlements of grace, in which provision is made for the vessels of mercy, afore prepared for glory: though there should be a studious concern in men for such readiness, for nothing is more certain than death, and nothing more uncertain than when it will be and after death, no readiness can be had, but he that is then righteous, shall be righteous still, and he that is filthy, shall be filthy still, and a deathbed is by no means to be trusted to and though a person may not be snatched away suddenly, but may have space given him to repent, yet if grace is not given him, to repent and believe in Christ, he never will the grave is ready for men, and in a little time all will be brought to this house, appointed for all living, where there is no wisdom, knowledge, and device and therefore whatever we are directed to do, should be now done, with all that might, and strength, and grace, that is given us to which may be added, that after death comes judgment the day is fixed, the judge is appointed, and all must stand before his judgment seat and nothing is more sure than that Christ will come a second time, to judge both quick and dead and happy will those be that are ready they will be received by Christ into everlasting habitations, and be for ever with him: and miserable will those be, who will not be ready, who will not have the oil of grace in their hearts with their lamps, nor the wedding garment on them they will be shut out, and bid to depart into everlasting burnings: how fit and proper is such an advice and exhortation as this, "be ye also ready". A readiness the Jews report Bath Kol, or the voice from heaven, gave out concerning the Israelites,

And elsewhere it is said of Bath Kol, that it went forth and affirmed of some particular Rabbins, that they were ready for eternal life as of Ketiah bar Shalom, R. Eleazar ben Durdia, and R. Chanina:

for in such an hour as ye think not, the son of man cometh : this is true of his coming in power to destroy Jerusalem, and of his second coming to judgment. The Jews say much the same of the coming of the Messiah, whom they expect:

"there are three things, they say, which come, הדעת בהיסח , "without knowledge", or unthought of, at an unawares and they are these, the Messiah, anything that is found, and a scorpion.

Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Be ye also ready - Luke Luke 21:36 says that he charged them to pray always, that they might be accounted worthy to escape those things - the judgments coming upon the wicked - and to stand before the Son of man - that is, to stand there approved by him, or to be admitted to his favor. He also charged them Luke 21:34 to take heed and not to suffer their hearts to be overcharged with surfeiting, or too much eating, or drunkenness, or the cares of this life, lest that day should come upon them unawares things improper if there were no judgment - especially mad and wicked when the judgment is near.


Contents

The Empire State Building is located on the west side of Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, between 33rd Street to the south and 34th Street to the north. [14] Tenants enter the building through the Art Deco lobby located at 350 Fifth Avenue. Visitors to the observatories use an entrance at 20 West 34th Street prior to August 2018, visitors entered through the Fifth Avenue lobby. [1] Although physically located in South Midtown, [15] a mixed residential and commercial area, [16] the building is so large that it was assigned its own ZIP Code, 10118 [17] [18] as of 2012 [update] , it is one of 43 buildings in New York City that have their own ZIP codes. [19] [b]

The areas surrounding the Empire State Building are home to other major points of interest, including Macy's at Herald Square on Sixth Avenue and 34th Street, [22] Koreatown on 32nd Street between Madison and Sixth Avenues, [22] [23] Penn Station and Madison Square Garden on Seventh Avenue between 32nd and 34th Streets, [22] and the Flower District on 28th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. [24] The nearest New York City Subway stations are 34th Street–Penn Station at Seventh Avenue, two blocks west 34th Street–Herald Square, one block west and 33rd Street at Park Avenue, two blocks east. [d] There is also a PATH station at 33rd Street and Sixth Avenue. [25]

To the east of the Empire State Building is Murray Hill, [25] a neighborhood with a mix of residential, commercial, and entertainment activity. [26] The block directly to the northeast contains the B. Altman and Company Building, which houses the City University of New York's Graduate Center, while the Demarest Building is directly across Fifth Avenue to the east. [27]

The site was previously owned by John Jacob Astor of the prominent Astor family, who had owned the site since the mid-1820s. [28] [29] In 1893, John Jacob Astor Sr.'s grandson William Waldorf Astor opened the Waldorf Hotel on the site [30] [31] four years later, his cousin, John Jacob Astor IV, opened the 16-story Astoria Hotel on an adjacent site. [32] [30] [33] The two portions of the Waldorf–Astoria hotel had 1,300 bedrooms, making it the largest hotel in the world at the time. [34] After the death of its founding proprietor, George Boldt, in early 1918, the hotel lease was purchased by Thomas Coleman du Pont. [35] [36] By the 1920s, the old Waldorf–Astoria was becoming dated and the elegant social life of New York had moved much farther north than 34th Street. [37] [38] [39] The Astor family decided to build a replacement hotel further uptown, [30] and sold the hotel to Bethlehem Engineering Corporation in 1928 for $14–16 million. [37] The hotel closed shortly thereafter, on May 3, 1929. [32]

Planning process

Early plans

Bethlehem Engineering Corporation originally intended to build a 25-story office building on the Waldorf–Astoria site. The company's president, Floyd De L. Brown, paid $100,000 of the $1 million down payment required to start construction on the building, with the promise that the difference would be paid later. [30] Brown borrowed $900,000 from a bank, but then defaulted on the loan. [40] [41] After Brown was unable to secure additional funding, [38] the land was resold to Empire State Inc., a group of wealthy investors that included Louis G. Kaufman, Ellis P. Earle, John J. Raskob, Coleman du Pont, and Pierre S. du Pont. [40] [41] [42] The name came from the state nickname for New York. [43] Alfred E. Smith, a former Governor of New York and U.S. presidential candidate whose 1928 campaign had been managed by Raskob, [44] was appointed head of the company. [38] [40] [41] The group also purchased nearby land so they would have the 2 acres (1 ha) needed for the base, with the combined plot measuring 425 feet (130 m) wide by 200 feet (61 m) long. [45]

The Empire State Inc. consortium was announced to the public in August 1929. [46] [47] [45] Concurrently, Smith announced the construction of an 80-story building on the site, to be taller than any other buildings in existence. [45] [48] Empire State Inc. contracted William F. Lamb, of architectural firm Shreve, Lamb and Harmon, to create the building design. [2] [49] Lamb produced the building drawings in just two weeks using the firm's earlier designs for the Reynolds Building in Winston-Salem, North Carolina as the basis. [43] Concurrently, Lamb's partner Richmond Shreve created "bug diagrams" of the project requirements. [50] The 1916 Zoning Act forced Lamb to design a structure that incorporated setbacks resulting in the lower floors being larger than the upper floors. [e] Consequently, the building was designed from the top down, [51] giving it a "pencil"-like shape. [52] The plans were devised within a budget of $50 million and a stipulation that the building be ready for occupancy within 18 months of the start of construction. [38]

Design changes

The original plan of the building was 50 stories, [53] but was later increased to 60 and then 80 stories. [45] Height restrictions were placed on nearby buildings [45] to ensure that the top fifty floors of the planned 80-story, 1,000-foot-tall (300 m) building [54] [55] would have unobstructed views of the city. [45] The New York Times lauded the site's proximity to mass transit, with the Brooklyn–Manhattan Transit's 34th Street station and the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad's 33rd Street terminal one block away, as well as Penn Station two blocks away and the Grand Central Terminal nine blocks away at its closest. It also praised the 3,000,000 square feet (280,000 m 2 ) of proposed floor space near "one of the busiest sections in the world". [45]

While plans for the Empire State Building were being finalized, an intense competition in New York for the title of "world's tallest building" was underway. 40 Wall Street (then the Bank of Manhattan Building) and the Chrysler Building in Manhattan both vied for this distinction and were already under construction when work began on the Empire State Building. [54] The "Race into the Sky", as popular media called it at the time, was representative of the country's optimism in the 1920s, fueled by the building boom in major cities. [56] The race was defined by at least five other proposals, although only the Empire State Building would survive the Wall Street Crash of 1929. [38] [f] The 40 Wall Street tower was revised, in April 1929, from 840 feet (260 m) to 925 feet (282 m) making it the world's tallest. [58] The Chrysler Building added its 185-foot (56 m) steel tip to its roof in October 1929, thus bringing it to a height of 1,046 feet (319 m) and greatly exceeding the height of 40 Wall Street. [54] The Chrysler Building's developer, Walter Chrysler, realized that his tower's height would exceed the Empire State Building's as well, having instructed his architect, William Van Alen, to change the Chrysler's original roof from a stubby Romanesque dome to a narrow steel spire. [58] Raskob, wishing to have the Empire State Building be the world's tallest, reviewed the plans and had five floors added as well as a spire however, the new floors would need to be set back because of projected wind pressure on the extension. [59] On November 18, 1929, Smith acquired a lot at 27–31 West 33rd Street, adding 75 feet (23 m) to the width of the proposed office building's site. [60] [61] Two days later, Smith announced the updated plans for the skyscraper. The plans included an observation deck on the 86th-floor roof at a height of 1,050 feet (320 m), higher than the Chrysler's 71st-floor observation deck. [59] [62]

The 1,050-foot Empire State Building would only be 4 feet (1.2 m) taller than the Chrysler Building, [59] [63] [64] and Raskob was afraid that Chrysler might try to "pull a trick like hiding a rod in the spire and then sticking it up at the last minute." [53] [65] [63] The plans were revised one last time in December 1929, to include a 16-story, 200-foot (61 m) metal "crown" and an additional 222-foot (68 m) mooring mast intended for dirigibles. The roof height was now 1,250 feet (380 m), making it the tallest building in the world by far, even without the antenna. [66] [53] [67] The addition of the dirigible station meant that another floor, the now-enclosed 86th floor, would have to be built below the crown [67] however, unlike the Chrysler's spire, the Empire State's mast would serve a practical purpose. [65] A revised plan was announced to the public in late December 1929, just before the start of construction. [38] [39] The final plan was sketched within two hours, the night before the plan was supposed to be presented to the site's owners in January 1930. [38] The New York Times reported that the spire was facing some "technical problems", but they were "no greater than might be expected under such a novel plan." [68] By this time the blueprints for the building had gone through up to fifteen versions before they were approved. [53] [69] [70] Lamb described the other specifications he was given for the final, approved plan:

The program was short enough—a fixed budget, no space more than 28 feet from window to corridor, as many stories of such space as possible, an exterior of limestone, and completion date of [May 1], 1931, which meant a year and six months from the beginning of sketches. [71] [53]

The contractors were Starrett Brothers and Eken, Paul and William A. Starrett and Andrew J. Eken, [72] who would later construct other New York City buildings such as Stuyvesant Town, Starrett City and Trump Tower. [73] The project was financed primarily by Raskob and Pierre du Pont, [74] while James Farley's General Builders Supply Corporation supplied the building materials. [2] John W. Bowser was the construction superintendent of the project, [75] and the structural engineer of the building was Homer G. Balcom. [49] [76] The tight completion schedule necessitated the commencement of construction even though the design had yet to be finalized. [77]

Construction

Hotel demolition

Demolition of the old Waldorf–Astoria began on October 1, 1929. [78] Stripping the building down was an arduous process, as the hotel had been constructed using more rigid material than earlier buildings had been. Furthermore, the old hotel's granite, wood chips, and "'precious' metals such as lead, brass, and zinc" were not in high demand resulting in issues with disposal. [79] Most of the wood was deposited into a woodpile on nearby 30th Street or was burned in a swamp elsewhere. Much of the other materials that made up the old hotel, including the granite and bronze, were dumped into the Atlantic Ocean near Sandy Hook, New Jersey. [80] [81]

By the time the hotel's demolition started, Raskob had secured the required funding for the construction of the building. [82] The plan was to start construction later that year but, on October 24, the New York Stock Exchange experienced the major and sudden Wall Street Crash, marking the beginning of the decade-long Great Depression. Despite the economic downturn, Raskob refused to cancel the project because of the progress that had been made up to that point. [46] Neither Raskob, who had ceased speculation in the stock market the previous year, nor Smith, who had no stock investments, suffered financially in the crash. [82] However, most of the investors were affected and as a result, in December 1929, Empire State Inc. obtained a $27.5 million loan from Metropolitan Life Insurance Company so construction could begin. [83] The stock market crash resulted in no demand in new office space, Raskob and Smith nonetheless started construction, [84] as canceling the project would have resulted in greater losses for the investors. [46]

Steel structure

A structural steel contract was awarded on January 12, 1930, [85] with excavation of the site beginning ten days later on January 22, [86] before the old hotel had been completely demolished. [87] Two twelve-hour shifts, consisting of 300 men each, worked continuously to dig the 55-foot (17 m) foundation. [86] Small pier holes were sunk into the ground to house the concrete footings that would support the steelwork. [88] Excavation was nearly complete by early March, [89] and construction on the building itself started on March 17, [90] [2] with the builders placing the first steel columns on the completed footings before the rest of the footings had been finished. [91] Around this time, Lamb held a press conference on the building plans. He described the reflective steel panels parallel to the windows, the large-block Indiana Limestone facade that was slightly more expensive than smaller bricks, and the building's vertical lines. [66] Four colossal columns, intended for installation in the center of the building site, were delivered they would support a combined 10,000,000 pounds (4,500,000 kg) when the building was finished. [92]

The structural steel was pre-ordered and pre-fabricated in anticipation of a revision to the city's building code that would have allowed the Empire State Building's structural steel to carry 18,000 pounds per square inch (120,000 kPa), up from 16,000 pounds per square inch (110,000 kPa), thus reducing the amount of steel needed for the building. Although the 18,000-psi regulation had been safely enacted in other cities, Mayor Jimmy Walker did not sign the new codes into law until March 26, 1930, just before construction was due to commence. [90] [93] The first steel framework was installed on April 1, 1930. [94] From there, construction proceeded at a rapid pace during one stretch of 10 working days, the builders erected fourteen floors. [95] [2] This was made possible through precise coordination of the building's planning, as well as the mass production of common materials such as windows and spandrels. [96] On one occasion, when a supplier could not provide timely delivery of dark Hauteville marble, Starrett switched to using Rose Famosa marble from a German quarry that was purchased specifically to provide the project with sufficient marble. [88]

The scale of the project was massive, with trucks carrying "16,000 partition tiles, 5,000 bags of cement, 450 cubic yards [340 m 3 ] of sand and 300 bags of lime" arriving at the construction site every day. [97] There were also cafes and concession stands on five of the incomplete floors so workers did not have to descend to the ground level to eat lunch. [3] [98] Temporary water taps were also built so workers did not waste time buying water bottles from the ground level. [3] [99] Additionally, carts running on a small railway system transported materials from the basement storage [3] to elevators that brought the carts to the desired floors where they would then be distributed throughout that level using another set of tracks. [97] [100] [98] The 57,480 short tons (51,320 long tons) of steel ordered for the project was the largest-ever single order of steel at the time, comprising more steel than was ordered for the Chrysler Building and 40 Wall Street combined. [101] [102] According to historian John Tauranac, building materials were sourced from numerous, and distant, sources with "limestone from Indiana, steel girders from Pittsburgh, cement and mortar from upper New York State, marble from Italy, France, and England, wood from northern and Pacific Coast forests, [and] hardware from New England." [95] The facade, too, used a variety of material, most prominently Indiana limestone but also Swedish black granite, terracotta, and brick. [103]

Completion and scale

Afterward, work on the building's interior and crowning mast commenced. [109] The mooring mast topped out on November 21, two months after the steelwork had been completed. [107] [110] Meanwhile, work on the walls and interior was progressing at a quick pace, with exterior walls built up to the 75th floor by the time steelwork had been built to the 95th floor. [111] The majority of the facade was already finished by the middle of November. [3] Because of the building's height, it was deemed infeasible to have many elevators or large elevator cabins, so the builders contracted with the Otis Elevator Company to make 66 cars that could speed at 1,200 feet per minute (366 m/min), which represented the largest-ever elevator order at the time. [112]

In addition to the time constraint builders had, there were also space limitations because construction materials had to be delivered quickly, and trucks needed to drop off these materials without congesting traffic. This was solved by creating a temporary driveway for the trucks between 33rd and 34th Streets, and then storing the materials in the building's first floor and basements. Concrete mixers, brick hoppers, and stone hoists inside the building ensured that materials would be able to ascend quickly and without endangering or inconveniencing the public. [111] At one point, over 200 trucks made material deliveries at the building site every day. [3] A series of relay and erection derricks, placed on platforms erected near the building, lifted the steel from the trucks below and installed the beams at the appropriate locations. [113] The Empire State Building was structurally completed on April 11, 1931, twelve days ahead of schedule and 410 days after construction commenced. [3] Al Smith shot the final rivet, which was made of solid gold. [114]

The project involved more than 3,500 workers at its peak, [2] including 3,439 on a single day, August 14, 1930. [115] Many of the workers were Irish and Italian immigrants, [116] with a sizable minority of Mohawk ironworkers from the Kahnawake reserve near Montreal. [116] [117] [118] According to official accounts, five workers died during the construction, [119] [120] although the New York Daily News gave reports of 14 deaths [3] and a headline in the socialist magazine The New Masses spread unfounded rumors of up to 42 deaths. [121] [120] The Empire State Building cost $40,948,900 to build, including demolition of the Waldorf–Astoria (equivalent to $564,491,900 in 2019). This was lower than the $60 million budgeted for construction. [5]

Lewis Hine captured many photographs of the construction, documenting not only the work itself but also providing insight into the daily life of workers in that era. [86] [122] [123] Hine's images were used extensively by the media to publish daily press releases. [124] According to the writer Jim Rasenberger, Hine "climbed out onto the steel with the ironworkers and dangled from a derrick cable hundreds of feet above the city to capture, as no one ever had before (or has since), the dizzy work of building skyscrapers". In Rasenberger's words, Hine turned what might have been an assignment of "corporate flak" into "exhilarating art". [125] These images were later organized into their own collection. [126] Onlookers were enraptured by the sheer height at which the steelworkers operated. New York magazine wrote of the steelworkers: "Like little spiders they toiled, spinning a fabric of steel against the sky". [113]

Opening and early years

The Empire State Building officially opened on May 1, 1931, forty-five days ahead of its projected opening date, and eighteen months from the start of construction. [127] [2] [128] The opening was marked with an event featuring United States President Herbert Hoover, who turned on the building's lights with the ceremonial button push from Washington, D.C.. [129] [130] [4] Over 350 guests attended the opening ceremony, and following luncheon, at the 86th floor including Jimmy Walker, Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Al Smith. [4] An account from that day stated that the view from the luncheon was obscured by a fog, with other landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty being "lost in the mist" enveloping New York City. [131] The Empire State Building officially opened the next day. [131] [75] Advertisements for the building's observatories were placed in local newspapers, while nearby hotels also capitalized on the events by releasing advertisements that lauded their proximity to the newly opened building. [132]

According to The New York Times, builders and real estate speculators predicted that the 1,250-foot-tall (380 m) Empire State Building would be the world's tallest building "for many years", thus ending the great New York City skyscraper rivalry. At the time, most engineers agreed that it would be difficult to build a building taller than 1,200 feet (370 m), even with the hardy Manhattan bedrock as a foundation. [133] Technically, it was believed possible to build a tower of up to 2,000 feet (610 m), but it was deemed uneconomical to do so, especially during the Great Depression. [100] [134] As the tallest building in the world, at that time, and the first one to exceed 100 floors, the Empire State Building became an icon of the city and, ultimately, of the nation. [135]

In 1932, the Fifth Avenue Association gave the building its 1931 "gold medal" for architectural excellence, signifying that the Empire State had been the best-designed building on Fifth Avenue to open in 1931. [136] A year later, on March 2, 1933, the movie King Kong was released. The movie, which depicted a large stop motion ape named Kong climbing the Empire State Building, made the still-new building into a cinematic icon. [137] [138]

Tenants and tourism

The Empire State Building's opening coincided with the Great Depression in the United States, and as a result much of its office space was vacant from its opening. [126] In the first year, only 23% of the available space was rented, [139] [140] as compared to the early 1920s, where the average building would have occupancy of 52% upon opening and 90% rented within five years. [141] The lack of renters led New Yorkers to deride the building as the "Empty State Building. [126] [142] or "Smith's Folly". [143]

The earliest tenants in the Empire State Building were large companies, banks, and garment industries. [143] Jack Brod, one of the building's longest resident tenants, [144] [145] co-established the Empire Diamond Corporation with his father in the building in mid-1931 [146] and rented space in the building until he died in 2008. [146] Brod recalled that there were only about 20 tenants at the time of opening, including him, [145] and that Al Smith was the only real tenant in the space above his seventh-floor offices. [144] Generally, during the early 1930s, it was rare for more than a single office space to be rented in the building, despite Smith's and Raskob's aggressive marketing efforts in the newspapers and to anyone they knew. [147] The building's lights were continuously left on, even in the unrented spaces, to give the impression of occupancy. This was exacerbated by competition from Rockefeller Center [139] as well as from buildings on 42nd Street, which, when combined with the Empire State Building, resulted in surplus of office space in a slow market during the 1930s. [148]

Aggressive marketing efforts served to reinforce the Empire State Building's status as the world's tallest. [149] The observatory was advertised in local newspapers as well as on railroad tickets. [150] The building became a popular tourist attraction, with one million people each paying one dollar to ride elevators to the observation decks in 1931. [151] In its first year of operation, the observation deck made approximately $2 million in revenue, as much as its owners made in rent that year. [139] [126] By 1936, the observation deck was crowded on a daily basis, with food and drink available for purchase at the top, [152] and by 1944 the building had received its five-millionth visitor. [153] In 1931, NBC took up tenancy, leasing space on the 85th floor for radio broadcasts. [154] [155] From the outset the building was in debt, losing $1 million per year by 1935. Real estate developer Seymour Durst recalled that the building was so underused in 1936 that there was no elevator service above the 45th floor, as the building above the 41st floor was empty except for the NBC offices and the Raskob/Du Pont offices on the 81st floor. [156]

Other events

Per the original plans, the Empire State Building's spire was intended to be an airship docking station. Raskob and Smith had proposed dirigible ticketing offices and passenger waiting rooms on the 86th floor, while the airships themselves would be tied to the spire at the equivalent of the building's 106th floor. [157] [158] An elevator would ferry passengers from the 86th to the 101st floor [g] after they had checked in on the 86th floor, [160] after which passengers would have climbed steep ladders to board the airship. [157] The idea, however, was impractical and dangerous due to powerful updrafts caused by the building itself, [161] the wind currents across Manhattan, [157] and the spires of nearby skyscrapers. [162] Furthermore, even if the airship were to successfully navigate all these obstacles, its crew would have to jettison some ballast by releasing water onto the streets below in order to maintain stability, and then tie the craft's nose to the spire with no mooring lines securing the tail end of the craft. [13] [157] [162] On September 15, 1931, a small commercial United States Navy airship circled 25 times in 45-mile-per-hour (72 km/h) winds. [163] The airship then attempted to dock at the mast, but its ballast spilled and the craft was rocked by unpredictable eddies. [164] [165] The near-disaster scuttled plans to turn the building's spire into an airship terminal, although one blimp did manage to make a single newspaper delivery afterward. [38] [157]

On July 28, 1945, a B-25 Mitchell bomber crashed into the north side of the Empire State Building, between the 79th and 80th floors. [166] One engine completely penetrated the building and landed in a neighboring block, while the other engine and part of the landing gear plummeted down an elevator shaft. Fourteen people were killed in the incident, [167] [70] but the building escaped severe damage and was reopened two days later. [167] [168]

Profitability

The Empire State Building only started becoming profitable in the 1950s, when it was finally able to break even for the first time. [126] [169] At the time, mass transit options in the building's vicinity were limited compared to the present day. Despite this challenge, the Empire State Building began to attract renters due to its reputation. [170] A 222-foot (68 m) radio antenna was erected on top of the towers starting in 1950, [171] allowing the area's television stations to be broadcast from the building. [172]

However, despite the turnaround in the building's fortunes, Raskob listed it for sale in 1951, [173] with a minimum asking price of $50 million. [174] The property was purchased by business partners Roger L. Stevens, Henry Crown, Alfred R. Glancy and Ben Tobin. [175] [176] [177] The sale was brokered by the Charles F. Noyes Company, a prominent real estate firm in upper Manhattan, [174] for $51 million, the highest price paid for a single structure at the time. [178] By this time, the Empire State had been fully leased for several years with a waiting list of parties looking to lease space in the building, according to the Cortland Standard. [179] That same year, six news companies formed a partnership to pay a combined annual fee of $600,000 to use the building's antenna, [174] which was completed in 1953. [172] Crown bought out his partners' ownership stakes in 1954, becoming the sole owner. [180] The following year, the American Society of Civil Engineers named the building one of the "Seven Modern Civil Engineering Wonders". [181] [182]

In 1961, Lawrence A. Wien signed a contract to purchase the Empire State Building for $65 million, with Harry B. Helmsley acting as partners in the building's operating lease. [175] [183] This became the new highest price for a single structure. [183] Over 3,000 people paid $10,000 for one share each in a company called Empire State Building Associates. The company in turn subleased the building to another company headed by Helmsley and Wien, raising $33 million of the funds needed to pay the purchase price. [175] [183] In a separate transaction, [183] the land underneath the building was sold to Prudential Insurance for $29 million. [175] [184] Helmsley, Wien, and Peter Malkin quickly started a program of minor improvement projects, including the first-ever full-building facade refurbishment and window-washing in 1962, [185] [186] the installation of new flood lights on the 72nd floor in 1964, [187] [188] and replacement of the manually operated elevators with automatic units in 1966. [189] The little-used western end of the second floor was used as a storage space until 1964, at which point it received escalators to the first floor as part of its conversion into a highly sought retail area. [190] [191]

Loss of "tallest building" title

In 1961, the same year that Helmsley, Wien, and Malkin had purchased the Empire State Building, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey formally backed plans for a new World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan. [194] The plan originally included 66-story twin towers with column-free open spaces. The Empire State's owners and real estate speculators were worried that the twin towers' 7.6 million square feet (710,000 m 2 ) of office space would create a glut of rentable space in Manhattan as well as take away the Empire State Building's profits from lessees. [195] A revision in the World Trade Center's plan brought the twin towers to 1,370 feet (420 m) each or 110 stories, taller than the Empire State. [196] Opponents of the new project included prominent real-estate developer Robert Tishman, as well as Wien's Committee for a Reasonable World Trade Center. [196] In response to Wien's opposition, Port Authority executive director Austin J. Tobin said that Wien was only opposing the project because it would overshadow his Empire State Building as the world's tallest building. [197]

The World Trade Center's twin towers started construction in 1966. [198] The following year, the Ostankino Tower succeeded the Empire State Building as the tallest freestanding structure in the world. [199] In 1970, the Empire State surrendered its position as the world's tallest building, [200] when the World Trade Center's still-under-construction North Tower surpassed it, on October 19 [192] [193] the North Tower was topped out, on December 23, 1970. [193] [201]

In December 1975, the observation deck was opened on the 110th floor of the Twin Towers, significantly higher than the 86th floor observatory on the Empire State Building. [70] The latter was also losing revenue during this period, particularly as a number of broadcast stations had moved to the World Trade Center in 1971 although the Port Authority continued to pay the broadcasting leases for the Empire State until 1984. [202] The Empire State Building was still seen as prestigious, having seen its forty-millionth visitor in March 1971. [203]

1980s and 1990s

By 1980, there were nearly two million annual visitors, [151] although a building official had previously estimated between 1.5 million and 1.75 million annual visitors. [204] The building received its own ZIP code in May 1980 in a roll out of 63 new postal codes in Manhattan. At the time, its tenants collectively received 35,000 pieces of mail daily. [21] The Empire State Building celebrated its 50th anniversary on May 1, 1981, with a much-publicized, but poorly received, laser light show, [205] as well as an "Empire State Building Week" that ran through to May 8. [206] [207]

The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission voted to make the lobby a city landmark on May 19, 1981, citing the historic nature of the first and second floors, as well as "the fixtures and interior components" of the upper floors. [208] The building became a National Historic Landmark in 1986 [10] in close alignment to the New York City Landmarks report. [209] The Empire State Building was added to the National Register of Historic Places the following year due to its architectural significance. [210]

Capital improvements were made to the Empire State Building during the early to mid-1990s at a cost of $55 million. [211] These improvements entailed replacing alarm systems, elevators, windows, and air conditioning making the observation deck compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and refurbishing the limestone facade. [212] The observatory renovation was added after disability rights groups and the United States Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against the building in 1992, in what was the first lawsuit filed by an organization under the new law. [213] A settlement was reached in 1994, in which the Empire State Building Associates agreed to add ADA-compliant elements, such as new elevators, ramps, and automatic doors, during its ongoing renovation. [214]

Prudential sold the land under the building in 1991 for $42 million to a buyer representing hotelier Hideki Yokoi [ja] , who was imprisoned at the time in connection with the deadly Hotel New Japan Fire [ja] at the Hotel New Japan [ja] in Tokyo. [215] In 1994, Donald Trump entered into a joint-venture agreement with Yokoi, with a shared goal of breaking the Empire State Building's lease on the land in an effort to gain total ownership of the building so that, if successful, the two could reap the potential profits of merging the ownership of the building with the land beneath it. [216] Having secured a half-ownership of the land, Trump devised plans to take ownership of the building itself so he could renovate it, even though Helmsley and Malkin had already started their refurbishment project. [211] He sued Empire State Building Associates in February 1995, claiming that the latter had caused the building to become a "high-rise slum" [175] and a "second-rate, rodent-infested" office tower. [217] Trump had intended to have Empire State Building Associates evicted for violating the terms of their lease, [217] but was denied. [218] This led to Helmsley's companies countersuing Trump in May. [219] This sparked a series of lawsuits and countersuits that lasted several years, [175] partly arising from Trump's desire to obtain the building's master lease by taking it from Empire State Building Associates. [212] Upon Harry Helmsley's death in 1997, the Malkins sued Helmsley's widow, Leona Helmsley, for control of the building. [220]

21st century

2000s

Following the destruction of the World Trade Center during the September 11 attacks in 2001, the Empire State Building again became the tallest building in New York City, but was only the second-tallest building in the Americas after the Sears (later Willis) Tower in Chicago. [199] [221] [222] As a result of the attacks, transmissions from nearly all of the city's commercial television and FM radio stations were again broadcast from the Empire State Building. [223] The attacks also led to an increase in security due to persistent terror threats against New York City landmarks. [224]

In 2002, Trump and Yokoi sold their land claim to the Empire State Building Associates, now headed by Malkin, in a $57.5 million sale. [175] [225] This action merged the building's title and lease for the first time in half a century. [225] Despite the lingering threat posed by the 9/11 attacks, the Empire State Building remained popular with 3.5 million visitors to the observatories in 2004, compared to about 2.8 million in 2003. [226]

Even though she maintained her ownership stake in the building until the post-consolidation IPO in October 2013, Leona Helmsley handed over day-to-day operations of the building in 2006 to Peter Malkin's company. [175] [227] In 2008, the building was temporarily "stolen" by the New York Daily News to show how easy it was to transfer the deed on a property, since city clerks were not required to validate the submitted information, as well as to help demonstrate how fraudulent deeds could be used to obtain large mortgages and then have individuals disappear with the money. The paperwork submitted to the city included the names of Fay Wray, the famous star of King Kong, and Willie Sutton, a notorious New York bank robber. The newspaper then transferred the deed back over to the legitimate owners, who at that time were Empire State Land Associates. [228]

2010s

Starting in 2009, the building's public areas received a $550 million renovation, with improvements to the air conditioning and waterproofing, renovations to the observation deck and main lobby, [229] and relocation of the gift shop to the 80th floor. [230] [231] About $120 million was spent on improving the energy efficiency of the building, with the goal of reducing energy emissions by 38% within five years. [231] [232] For example, all of the windows were refurbished onsite into film-coated "superwindows" which block heat but pass light. [232] [233] [234] Air conditioning operating costs on hot days were reduced, saving $17 million of the project's capital cost immediately and partially funding some of the other retrofits. [233] The Empire State Building won the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold for Existing Buildings rating in September 2011, as well as the World Federation of Great Towers' Excellence in Environment Award for 2010. [234] For the LEED Gold certification, the building's energy reduction was considered, as was a large purchase of carbon offsets. Other factors included low-flow bathroom fixtures, green cleaning supplies, and use of recycled paper products. [235]

On April 30, 2012, One World Trade Center topped out, taking the Empire State Building's record of tallest in the city. [236] By 2014, the building was owned by the Empire State Realty Trust (ESRT), with Anthony Malkin as chairman, CEO, and president. [237] The ESRT was a public company, having begun trading publicly on the New York Stock Exchange the previous year. [238] In August 2016, the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) was issued new fully diluted shares equivalent to 9.9% of the trust this investment gave them partial ownership of the entirety of the ESRT's portfolio, and as a result, partial ownership of the Empire State Building. [239] The trust's president John Kessler called it an "endorsement of the company's irreplaceable assets". [240] The investment has been described by the real-estate magazine The Real Deal as "an unusual move for a sovereign wealth fund", as these funds typically buy direct stakes in buildings rather than real estate companies. [241] Other foreign entities that have a stake in the ESRT include investors from Norway, Japan, and Australia. [240]

A renovation of the Empire State Building was commenced in the 2010s to further improve energy efficiency, public areas, and amenities. [1] In August 2018, to improve the flow of visitor traffic, the main visitor's entrance was shifted to 20 West 34th Street as part of a major renovation of the observatory lobby. [242] The new lobby includes several technological features, including large LED panels, digital ticket kiosks in nine languages, and a two-story architectural model of the building surrounded by two metal staircases. [1] [242] The first phase of the renovation, completed in 2019, features an updated exterior lighting system and digital hosts. [242] The new lobby also features free Wi-Fi provided for those waiting. [1] [243] A 10,000-square-foot (930 m 2 ) exhibit with nine galleries, opened in July 2019. [244] [245] The 102nd floor observatory, the third phase of the redesign, re-opened to the public on October 12, 2019. [246] [247] That portion of the project included outfitting the space with floor-to-ceiling glass windows and a brand-new glass elevator. [248] The final portion of the renovations to be completed was a new observatory on the 80th floor, which opened on December 2, 2019. In total, the renovation had cost $165 million and taken four years to finish. [249] [250]

The building has been named as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers. [252] The building and its street floor interior are designated landmarks of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, and confirmed by the New York City Board of Estimate. [253] It was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1986. [10] [209] [254] In 2007, it was first on the AIA's List of America's Favorite Architecture. [255]

The Empire State Building has a symmetrical massing, or shape, because of its large lot and relatively short base. The five-story base occupies the entire lot, while the 81-story tower above it is set back sharply from the base. [38] [68] [256] There are smaller setbacks on the upper stories, allowing sunlight to illuminate the interiors of the top floors, and positioning these floors away from the noisy streets below. [52] [257] The setbacks are located at the 21st, 25th, 30th, 72nd, 81st, and 85th stories. [258]

The setbacks were mandated as per the 1916 Zoning Resolution, which was intended to allow sunlight to reach the streets as well. [e] Normally, a building of the Empire State's dimensions would be permitted to build up to 12 stories on the Fifth Avenue side, and up to 17 stories on the 33rd/34th Streets side, before it would have to utilize setbacks. [68] However, with the largest setback being located above the base, the tower stories could contain a uniform shape. [264] [265] [53] According to architectural writer Robert A. M. Stern, the Empire State Building's form contrasted with the nearly contemporary, similarly designed 500 Fifth Avenue eight blocks north, which had an asymmetrical massing on a smaller lot. [38]

Facade

The Empire State Building's art deco design is typical of pre–World War II architecture in New York. [253] The facade is clad in Indiana limestone panels sourced from the Empire Mill in Sanders, Indiana, [266] which give the building its signature blonde color. [43] According to official fact sheets, the facade uses 200,000 cubic feet (5,700 m 3 ) of limestone and granite, ten million bricks, and 730 short tons (650 long tons) of aluminum and stainless steel. [267] The building also contains 6,514 windows. [268]

The main entrance, composed of three sets of metal doors, is at the center of the Fifth Avenue facade, flanked by molded piers that are topped with eagles. Above the main entrance is a transom, a triple-height transom window with geometric patterns, and the golden letters empire state above the fifth-floor windows. [256] [127] There are two entrances each on 33rd and 34th Streets, with modernistic, stainless steel canopies projecting from the entrances on 33rd and 34th Streets there. Above the secondary entrances are triple windows, less elaborate in design than those on Fifth Avenue. [253] [256] [127] The storefronts on the first floor contain aluminum-framed doors and windows within a black granite cladding. [256] [127] The second through fourth stories consist of windows alternating with wide stone piers and narrower stone mullions. The fifth story contains windows alternating with wide and narrow mullions, and is topped by a horizontal stone sill. [256]

The facade of the tower stories is split into several vertical bays on each side, with windows projecting slightly from the limestone cladding. The bays are arranged into sets of one, two, or three windows on each floor. [269] The windows in each bay are separated by vertical nickel-chrome steel mullions and connected by horizontal aluminum spandrels on each floor. [258] [127]

Structural features

The riveted steel frame of the building was originally designed to handle all of the building's gravitational stresses and wind loads. [270] The amount of material used in the building's construction resulted in a very stiff structure when compared to other skyscrapers, with a structural stiffness of 42 pounds per square foot (2.0 kPa) versus the Willis Tower's 33 pounds per square foot (1.6 kPa) and the John Hancock Center's 26 pounds per square foot (1.2 kPa). [271] A December 1930 feature in Popular Mechanics estimated that a building with the Empire State's dimensions would still stand even if hit with an impact of 50 short tons (45 long tons). [264]

Utilities are grouped in a central shaft. [68] On the 6th through 86th stories, the central shaft is surrounded by a main corridor on all four sides. [53] As per the final specifications of the building, the corridor is surrounded in turn by office space 28 feet (8.5 m) deep, maximizing office space at a time before air conditioning became commonplace. [272] [71] Each of the floors has 210 structural columns that pass through it, which provide structural stability, but limits the amount of open space on these floors. [53] However, the relative dearth of stone in the building allows for more space overall, with a 1:200 stone-to-building ratio in the Empire State compared to a 1:50 ratio in similar buildings. [100]

Interior

According to official fact sheets, the Empire State Building weighs 365,000 short tons (331,122 t) and has an internal volume of 37 million cubic feet (1,000,000 m 3 ). [267] The interior required 1,172 miles (1,886 km) of elevator cable and 2 million feet (609,600 m) of electrical wires. [273] The Empire State Building has a total floor area of 2,768,591 sq ft (257,211 m 2 ), and each of the floors in the base cover 2 acres (1 ha). [274] This gives the building capacity for 20,000 tenants and 15,000 visitors. [264]

The Empire State Building contains 73 elevators. [232] Its original 64 elevators, built by the Otis Elevator Company, [274] are located in a central core and are of varying heights, with the longest of these elevators reaching from the lobby to the 80th floor. [68] [275] As originally built, there were four "express" elevators that connected the lobby, 80th floor, and several landings in between the other 60 "local" elevators connected the landings with the floors above these intermediate landings. [265] Of the 64 total elevators, 58 were for passenger use (comprising the four express elevators and 54 local elevators), and eight were for freight deliveries. [53] The elevators were designed to move at 1,200 feet per minute (366 m/min). At the time of the skyscraper's construction, their practical speed was limited to 700 feet per minute (213 m/min) as per city law, but this limit was removed shortly after the building opened. [274] [53] Additional elevators connect the 80th floor to the six floors above it, as the six extra floors were built after the original 80 stories were approved. [54] [276] The elevators were mechanically operated until 2011, when they were replaced with automatic elevators during the $550 million renovation of the building. [277] An additional elevator connects the 86th and 102nd floor observatories, which allows visitors access the 102nd floor observatory after having their tickets scanned. It also allows employees to access the mechanical floors located between the 87th and 101st floors. The Empire State Building has 73 elevators in all, including service elevators. [270]

Lobby

The original main lobby is accessed from Fifth Avenue, on the building's east side, and contains an entrance with one set of double doors between a pair of revolving doors. At the top of each doorway is a bronze motif depicting one of three "crafts or industries" used in the building's construction—Electricity, Masonry, and Heating. [278] The lobby contains two tiers of marble, a lighter marble on the top, above the storefronts, and a darker marble on the bottom, flush with the storefronts. There is a pattern of zigzagging terrazzo tiles on the lobby floor, which leads from the entrance on the east to the aluminum relief on the west. [279] The chapel-like three-story-high lobby, which runs parallel to 33rd and 34th Streets, contains storefronts on both its northern and southern sides. [280] These storefronts are framed on each side by tubes of dark "modernistically rounded marble", according to the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, and above by a vertical band of grooves set into the marble. [279] Immediately inside the lobby is an airport-style security checkpoint. [281] The side entrances from 33rd and 34th Street lead to two-story-high corridors around the elevator core, crossed by stainless steel and glass-enclosed bridges at the second floor. [253] [256]

The walls on both the northern and southern sides of the lobby house storefronts and escalators to a mezzanine level. [279] [h] At the west end of the lobby is an aluminum relief of the skyscraper as it was originally built (i.e. without the antenna). [282] The relief, which was intended to provide a welcoming effect, [283] contains an embossing of the building's outline, accompanied by what the Landmarks Preservation Commission describes as "the rays of an aluminum sun shining out behind [the building] and mingling with aluminum rays emanating from the spire of the Empire State Building". In the background is a state map of New York with the building's location marked by a "medallion" in the very southeast portion of the outline. A compass is located in the bottom right and a plaque to the building's major developers is on the bottom left. [284]

The plaque at the western end of the lobby is located on the eastern interior wall of a one-story tall rectangular-shaped corridor that surrounds the banks of escalators, with a similar design to the lobby. [285] The rectangular-shaped corridor actually consists of two long hallways on the northern and southern sides of the rectangle, [286] as well as a shorter hallway on the eastern side and another long hallway on the western side. [285] At both ends of the northern and southern corridors, there is a bank of four low-rise elevators in between the corridors. [207] The western side of the rectangular elevator-bank corridor extends north to the 34th Street entrance and south to the 33rd Street entrance. It borders three large storefronts and leads to escalators that go both to the second floor and to the basement. Going from west to east, there are secondary entrances to 34th and 33rd Streets from both the northern and southern corridors, respectively, at approximately the two-thirds point of each corridor. [279] [h]

Until the 1960s, an art deco mural, inspired by both the sky and the Machine Age, was installed in the lobby ceilings. [282] Subsequent damage to these murals, designed by artist Leif Neandross, resulted in reproductions being installed. Renovations to the lobby in 2009, such as replacing the clock over the information desk in the Fifth Avenue lobby with an anemometer and installing two chandeliers intended to be part of the building when it originally opened, revived much of its original grandeur. [229] The north corridor contained eight illuminated panels created in 1963 by Roy Sparkia and Renée Nemorov, in time for the 1964 World's Fair, depicting the building as the Eighth Wonder of the World alongside the traditional seven. [207] [287] The building's owners installed a series of paintings by the New York artist Kysa Johnson in the concourse level. Johnson later filed a federal lawsuit, in January 2014, under the Visual Artists Rights Act alleging the negligent destruction of the paintings and damage to her reputation as an artist. [288] As part of the building's 2010 renovation, Denise Amses commissioned a work consisting of 15,000 stars and 5,000 circles, superimposed on a 13-by-5-foot (4.0 by 1.5 m) etched-glass installation, in the lobby. [289]

Above the 102nd floor

The final stage of the building was the installation of a hollow mast, a 158-foot (48 m) steel shaft fitted with elevators and utilities, above the 86th floor. At the top would be a conical roof and the 102nd-floor docking station. [290] [143] Inside, the elevators would ascend 167 feet (51 m) from the 86th floor ticket offices to a 33-foot-wide (10 m) 101st-floor [g] waiting room. [160] [157] From there, stairs would lead to the 102nd floor, [g] where passengers would enter the airships. [290] The airships would have been moored to the spire at the equivalent of the building's 106th floor. [157] [158]

As constructed, the mast contains four rectangular tiers topped by a cylindrical shaft with a conical pinnacle. [143] On the 102nd floor (formerly the 101st floor), there is a door with stairs ascending to the 103rd floor (formerly the 102nd). [g] This was built as a disembarkation floor for airships tethered to the building's spire, and has a circular balcony outside. [13] It is now an access point to reach the spire for maintenance. The room now contains electrical equipment, but celebrities and dignitaries may also be given permission to take pictures there. [291] [292] Above the 103rd floor, there is a set of stairs and a ladder to reach the spire for maintenance work. [291] The mast's 480 windows were all replaced in 2015. [293] The mast serves as the base of the building's broadcasting antenna. [143]

Broadcast stations

Broadcasting began at the Empire State Building on December 22, 1931, when NBC and RCA began transmitting experimental television broadcasts from a small antenna erected atop the mast, with two separate transmitters for the visual and audio data. They leased the 85th floor and built a laboratory there. [155] In 1934, RCA was joined by Edwin Howard Armstrong in a cooperative venture to test his FM system from the building's antenna. [294] [295] This setup, which entailed the installation of the world's first FM transmitter, [295] continued only until October of the next year due to disputes between RCA and Armstrong. [155] [294] Specifically, NBC wanted to install more TV equipment in the room where Armstrong's transmitter was located. [295]

After some time, the 85th floor became home to RCA's New York television operations initially as experimental station W2XBS channel 1 then, from 1941, as commercial station WNBT channel 1 (now WNBC channel 4). NBC's FM station, W2XDG, began transmitting from the antenna in 1940. [155] [296] NBC retained exclusive use of the top of the building until 1950 when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ordered the exclusive deal be terminated. The FCC directive was based on consumer complaints that a common location was necessary for the seven extant New York-area television stations to transmit from so that receiving antennas would not have to be constantly adjusted. Other television broadcasters would later join RCA at the building on the 81st through 83rd floors, often along with sister FM stations. [155] Construction of a dedicated broadcast tower began on July 27, 1950, [171] with TV, and FM, transmissions starting in 1951. The 200-foot (61 m) broadcast tower was completed in 1953. [143] [43] [172] From 1951, six broadcasters agreed to pay a combined $600,000 per year for the use of the antenna. [174] In 1965, a separate set of FM antennae was constructed ringing the 103rd floor observation area to act as a master antenna. [155]

The placement of the stations in the Empire State Building became a major issue with the construction of the World Trade Center's Twin Towers in the late 1960s, and early 1970s. The greater height of the Twin Towers would reflect radio waves broadcast from the Empire State Building, eventually resulting in some broadcasters relocating to the newer towers instead of suing the developer, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. [297] Even though the nine stations who were broadcasting from the Empire State Building were leasing their broadcast space until 1984, most of these stations moved to the World Trade Center as soon as it was completed in 1971. The broadcasters obtained a court order stipulating that the Port Authority had to build a mast and transmission equipment in the North Tower, as well as pay the broadcasters' leases in the Empire State Building until 1984. [202] Only a few broadcasters renewed their leases in the Empire State Building. [298]

The September 11 attacks in 2001 destroyed the World Trade Center and the broadcast centers atop it, leaving most of the city's stations without a station for ten days until a temporary tower was built in Alpine, New Jersey. [299] By October 2001, nearly all of the city's commercial broadcast stations (both television and FM radio) were again transmitting from the top of the Empire State Building. In a report that Congress commissioned about the transition from analog television to digital television, it was stated that the placement of broadcast stations in the Empire State Building was considered "problematic" due to interference from nearby buildings. In comparison, the Congressional report stated that the former Twin Towers had very few buildings of comparable height nearby thus signals suffered little interference. [223] In 2003, a few FM stations were relocated to the nearby Condé Nast Building to reduce the number of broadcast stations using the Empire State Building. [300] Eleven television stations and twenty-two FM stations had signed 15-year leases in the building by May 2003. It was expected that a taller broadcast tower in Bayonne, New Jersey, or Governors Island, would be built in the meantime with the Empire State Building being used as a "backup" since signal transmissions from the building were generally of poorer quality. [301] Following the construction of One World Trade Center in the late 2000s and early 2010s, some TV stations began moving their transmitting facilities there. [302]

As of 2018 [update] , the Empire State Building is home to the following stations: [303]

Observation decks

The 80th, 86th, and 102nd floors contain observatories. [304] [282] [250] The latter two observatories saw a combined average of four million visitors per year in 2010. [105] [305] [306] Since opening, the observatories have been more popular than similar observatories at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, the Chrysler Building, the first One World Trade Center, or the Woolworth Building, despite being more expensive. [305] There are variable charges to enter the observatories one ticket allows visitors to go as high as the 86th floor, and there is an additional charge to visit the 102nd floor. Other ticket options for visitors include scheduled access to view the sunrise from the observatory, a "premium" guided tour with VIP access, and the "AM/PM" package which allows for two visits in the same day. [307]

The 86th floor observatory contains both an enclosed viewing gallery and an open-air outdoor viewing area, allowing for it to remain open 365 days a year regardless of the weather. The 102nd floor observatory is completely enclosed and much smaller in size. The 102nd floor observatory was closed to the public from the late 1990s to 2005 due to limited viewing capacity and long lines. [308] [309] The observation decks were redesigned in mid-1979. [204] The 102nd floor was again redesigned in a project that was completed in 2019, allowing the windows to be extended from floor to ceiling and widening the space in the observatory overall. [246] [247] An observatory on the 80th floor, opened in 2019, includes various exhibits as well as a mural of the skyline drawn by British artist Stephen Wiltshire. [249] [250]

According to a 2010 report by Concierge.com, the five lines to enter the observation decks are "as legendary as the building itself". Concierge.com stated that there are five lines: the sidewalk line, the lobby elevator line, the ticket purchase line, the second elevator line, and the line to get off the elevator and onto the observation deck. [310] However, in 2016, New York City's official tourism website, NYCgo.com, made note of only three lines: the security check line, the ticket purchase line, and the second elevator line. [311] Following renovations completed in 2019, designed to streamline queuing and reduce wait times, guests enter from a single entrance on 34th Street, where they make their way through 10,000-square-foot (930 m 2 ) exhibits on their way up to the observatories. Guests were offered a variety of ticket packages, including a package that enables them to skip the lines throughout the duration of their stay. [247] The Empire State Building garners significant revenue from ticket sales for its observation decks, making more money from ticket sales than it does from renting office space during some years. [305] [312]

New York Skyride

In early 1994, a motion simulator attraction was built on the 2nd floor, [313] as a complement to the observation deck. [314] The original cinematic presentation lasted approximately 25 minutes, while the simulation was about eight minutes. [315]

The ride had two incarnations. The original version, which ran from 1994 until around 2002, featured James Doohan, Star Trek's Scotty, as the airplane's pilot who humorously tried to keep the flight under control during a storm. [316] [317] After the World Trade Center terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the ride was closed. [314] An updated version debuted in mid-2002, featuring actor Kevin Bacon as the pilot, with the new flight also going haywire. [318] This new version served a more informative goal, as opposed to the old version's main purpose of entertainment, and contained details about the 9/11 attacks. [319] The simulator received mixed reviews, with assessments of the ride ranging from "great" to "satisfactory" to "corny". [320]

Lights

The building was originally equipped with white searchlights at the top. They were first used in November 1932 when they lit up to signal Roosevelt's victory over Hoover in the presidential election of that year. [321] These were later swapped for four "Freedom Lights" in 1956. [321] In February 1964, flood lights were added on the 72nd floor [187] to illuminate the top of the building at night so that the building could be seen from the World Fair later that year. [188] The lights were shut off from November 1973 to July 1974 because of the energy crisis at the time. [32] In 1976, the businessman Douglas Leigh suggested that Wien and Helmsley install 204 metal-halide lights, which were four times as bright as the 1,000 incandescent lights they were to replace. [322] New red, white, and blue metal-halide lights were installed in time for the country's bicentennial that July. [32] [323] After the bicentennial, Helmsley retained the new lights due to the reduced maintenance cost, about $116 a year. [322]

Since 1976, the spire has been lit in colors chosen to match seasonal events and holidays. Organizations are allowed to make requests through the building's website. [324] The building is also lit in the colors of New York-based sports teams on nights when they host games: for example, orange, blue, and white for the New York Knicks red, white, and blue for the New York Rangers. [325] It was twice lit in scarlet to support New Jersey's Rutgers University, once for a football game against the University of Louisville on November 9, 2006, and again on April 3, 2007, when the women's basketball team played in the national championship game. [326] The spire can also be lit to commemorate occasions such as disasters, anniversaries, or deaths. For instance, in 1998, the building was lit in blue after the death of singer Frank Sinatra, who was nicknamed "Ol' Blue Eyes". [327] The structure was lit in red, white, and blue for several months after the destruction of the World Trade Center in September 2001. [328] On January 13, 2012, the building was lit in red, orange, and yellow to honor the 60th anniversary of NBC program The Today Show. [329] After retired basketball player Kobe Bryant's January 2020 death, the building was lit in purple and gold, signifying the colors of his former team, the Los Angeles Lakers. [330]

In 2012, the building's four hundred metal halide lamps and floodlights were replaced with 1,200 LED fixtures, increasing the available colors from nine to over 16 million. [331] The computer-controlled system allows the building to be illuminated in ways that were unable to be done previously with plastic gels. [332] For instance, on November 6, 2012, CNN used the top of the Empire State Building as a scoreboard for the 2012 United States presidential election. When incumbent president Barack Obama had reached the 270 electoral votes necessary to win re-election, the lights turned blue, representing the color of Obama's Democratic Party. Had Republican challenger Mitt Romney won, the building would have been lit red, the color of the Republican Party. [333] Also, on November 26, 2012, the building had its first synchronized light show, using music from recording artist Alicia Keys. [334] Artists such as Eminem and OneRepublic have been featured in later shows, including the building's annual Holiday Music-to-Lights Show. [335] The building's owners adhere to strict standards in using the lights for instance, they do not use the lights to play advertisements. [332]

The longest world record held by the Empire State Building was for the tallest skyscraper (to structural height), which it held for 42 years until it was surpassed by the North Tower of the World Trade Center in October 1970. [199] [221] [336] The Empire State Building was also the tallest man-made structure in the world before it was surpassed by the Griffin Television Tower Oklahoma (KWTV Mast) in 1954, [337] and the tallest freestanding structure in the world until the completion of the Ostankino Tower in 1967. [199] An early-1970s proposal to dismantle the spire and replace it with an additional 11 floors, which would have brought the building's height to 1,494 feet (455 m) and made it once again the world's tallest at the time, was considered but ultimately rejected. [338]

With the destruction of the World Trade Center in the September 11 attacks, the Empire State Building again became the tallest building in New York City, and the second-tallest building in the Americas, surpassed only by the Willis Tower in Chicago. The Empire State Building remained the tallest building in New York until the new One World Trade Center reached a greater height in April 2012. [199] [221] [222] [339] As of September 2020 [update] , it is the seventh-tallest building in New York City after One World Trade Center, 111 West 57th Street, Central Park Tower, One Vanderbilt, 432 Park Avenue, and 30 Hudson Yards. It is the fifth-tallest completed skyscraper in the United States behind the two other tallest buildings in New York City, as well as the Willis Tower and Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago. [340] The Empire State Building is the 49th-tallest in the world as of February 2021 [update] . [341] It is also the sixth-tallest freestanding structure in the Americas behind the five tallest buildings and the CN Tower. [342]

As of 2013 [update] , the building houses around 1,000 businesses. [343] Current tenants include:

  • The National Catholic Welfare Council (now Catholic Relief Services, located in Baltimore) [365] (now located at 56 Broadway) [366][348] (now located at 370 Lexington Avenue) [367][348] (now located at 1123 Broadway) [368][369][370] of the USA [371] (relocated to Washington, DC [372] )

1945 plane crash

At 9:40 am on July 28, 1945, a B-25 Mitchell bomber, piloted in thick fog by Lieutenant Colonel William Franklin Smith Jr., [373] crashed into the north side of the Empire State Building between the 79th and 80th floors where the offices of the National Catholic Welfare Council were located. [166] One engine completely penetrated the building, landing on the roof of a nearby building where it started a fire that destroyed a penthouse. [365] [374] The other engine and part of the landing gear plummeted down an elevator shaft causing a fire, which was extinguished in 40 minutes. Fourteen people were killed in the incident. [167] [70] Elevator operator Betty Lou Oliver survived a plunge of 75 stories inside an elevator, which still stands as the Guinness World Record for the longest survived elevator fall recorded. [375]

Despite the damage and loss of life, the building was open for business on many floors two days later. [167] [168] The crash helped spur the passage of the long-pending Federal Tort Claims Act of 1946, as well as the insertion of retroactive provisions into the law, allowing people to sue the government for the incident. [376] Also as a result of the crash, the Civil Aeronautics Administration enacted strict regulations regarding flying over New York City, setting a minimum flying altitude of 2,500 feet (760 m) above sea level regardless of the weather conditions. [377] [167]

A year later, on July 24, 1946, another aircraft narrowly missed striking the building. The unidentified twin-engine plane scraped past the observation deck, scaring the tourists there. [378]

2000 elevator plunge

On January 24, 2000, an elevator in the building suddenly descended 40 stories after a cable that controlled the cabin's maximum speed was severed. [379] The elevator fell from the 44th floor to the fourth floor, where a narrowed elevator shaft provided a second safety system. Despite the 40-floor fall, both of the passengers in the cabin at the time were only slightly injured. [380] Since that elevator had no fourth-floor doors, the passengers were rescued by an adjacent elevator. [381] After the fall, building inspectors reviewed all of the building's elevators. [380]

Suicide attempts

Because of the building's iconic status, it and other Midtown landmarks are popular locations for suicide attempts. [382] More than 30 people have attempted suicide over the years by jumping from the upper parts of the building, with most attempts being successful. [383] [384]

The first suicide from the building occurred on April 7, 1931, before it was even completed, when a carpenter who had been laid-off went to the 58th floor and jumped. [385] The first suicide after the building's opening occurred from the 86th floor observatory in February 1935, when Irma P. Eberhardt fell 1,029 feet (314 m) onto a marquee sign. [386] On December 16, 1943, William Lloyd Rambo jumped to his death from the 86th floor, landing amidst Christmas shoppers on the street below. [387] In the early morning of September 27, 1946, shell-shocked Marine Douglas W. Brashear Jr. jumped from the 76th-floor window of the Grant Advertising Agency police found his shoes 50 feet (15 m) from his body. [388]

On May 1, 1947, Evelyn McHale leapt to her death from the 86th floor observation deck and landed on a limousine parked at the curb. Photography student Robert Wiles took a photo of McHale's oddly intact corpse a few minutes after her death. The police found a suicide note among possessions that she left on the observation deck: "He is much better off without me. I wouldn't make a good wife for anybody". The photo ran in the May 12, 1947 edition of Life magazine [389] and is often referred to as "The Most Beautiful Suicide". It was later used by visual artist Andy Warhol in one of his prints entitled Suicide (Fallen Body). [390] A 7-foot (2.1 m) mesh fence was put up around the 86th floor terrace in December 1947 after five people tried to jump during a three-week span in October and November of that year. [391] [392] By then, sixteen people had died from suicide jumps. [391]

Only one person has jumped from the upper observatory. Frederick Eckert of Astoria ran past a guard in the enclosed 102nd-floor gallery on November 3, 1932, and jumped a gate leading to an outdoor catwalk intended for dirigible passengers. He landed and died on the roof of the 86th floor observation promenade. [393]

Two people have survived falls by not falling more than a floor. On December 2, 1979, Elvita Adams jumped from the 86th floor, only to be blown back onto a ledge on the 85th floor by a gust of wind and left with a broken hip. [394] [395] [396] On April 25, 2013, a man fell from the 86th floor observation deck, but he landed alive with minor injuries on an 85th-floor ledge where security guards brought him inside and paramedics transferred him to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. [397]

Shootings

Two fatal shootings have occurred in the direct vicinity of the Empire State Building. Abu Kamal, a 69-year-old Palestinian teacher, shot seven people on the 86th floor observation deck during the afternoon of February 23, 1997. He killed one person and wounded six others before committing suicide. [398] Kamal reportedly committed the shooting in response to events happening in Palestine and Israel. [399]

On the morning of August 24, 2012, 58-year-old Jeffrey T. Johnson shot and killed a former co-worker on the building's Fifth Avenue sidewalk. He had been laid off from his job in 2011. Two police officers confronted the gunman, and he aimed his firearm at them. They responded by firing 16 shots, killing him but also wounding nine bystanders. Most of the injured were hit by bullet fragments, although three took direct hits from bullets. [12] [400]

As the tallest building in the world and the first one to exceed 100 floors, the Empire State Building immediately became an icon of the city and of the nation. [126] [135] [203] In 2013, Time magazine noted that the Empire State Building "seems to completely embody the city it has become synonymous with". [401] The historian John Tauranac called it "'the' twentieth-century New York building", despite the existence of taller and more modernist buildings. [402]

Early architectural critics also focused on the Empire State Building's exterior ornamentation. [38] Architectural critic Talbot Hamlin wrote in 1931, "That it is the world's tallest building is purely incidental." [403] George Shepard Chappell, writing in The New Yorker under the pseudonym "T-Square", wrote the same year that the Empire State Building had a "palpably enormous" appeal to the general public, and that "its difference and distinction [lay] in the extreme sensitiveness of its entire design". [38] [404] However, architectural critics also wrote negatively of the mast, especially in light of its failure to become a real air terminal. Chappell called the mast "a silly gesture" and Lewis Mumford called it "a public comfort station for migratory birds". [38] Nevertheless, architecture critic Douglas Haskell said the Empire State Building's appeal came from the fact that it was "caught at the exact moment of transition—caught between metal and stone, between the idea of 'monumental mass' and that of airy volume, between handicraft and machine design, and in the swing from what was essentially handicraft to what will be essentially industrial methods of fabrication." [405] [406]

Status as an icon

Early in the building's history, travel companies such as Short Line Motor Coach Service and New York Central Railroad used the building as an icon to symbolize the city. [407] After the construction of the first World Trade Center, architect Paul Goldberger noted that the Empire State Building "is famous for being tall, but it is good enough to be famous for being good." [204]

As an icon of the United States, it is also very popular among Americans. In a 2007 survey, the American Institute of Architects found that the Empire State Building was "America's favorite building". [408] The building was originally a symbol of hope in a country devastated by the Depression, as well as a work of accomplishment by newer immigrants. [126] The writer Benjamin Flowers states that the Empire State was "a building intended to celebrate a new America, built by men (both clients and construction workers) who were themselves new Americans." [121] The architectural critic Jonathan Glancey refers to the building as an "icon of American design". [343]

The Empire State Building has been hailed as an example of a "wonder of the world" due to the massive effort expended during construction. The Washington Star listed it as part of one of the "seven wonders of the modern world" in 1931, while Holiday magazine wrote in 1958 that the Empire State's height would be taller than the combined heights of the Eiffel Tower and the Great Pyramid of Giza. [402] The American Society of Civil Engineers also declared the building "A Modern Civil Engineering Wonder of the United States" in 1958, and one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World in 1994. [182] Ron Miller, in a 2010 book, also described the Empire State Building as one of the "seven wonders of engineering". [409] It has often been called the Eighth Wonder of the World as well, an appellation that it has held since shortly after opening. [69] [164] [410] The panels installed in the lobby in 1963 reflected this, showing the seven original wonders alongside the Empire State Building. [287] The Empire State Building also became the standard of reference to describe the height and length of other structures globally, both natural and man-made. [411]

In popular culture

As an icon of New York City, the Empire State Building has been featured in various films, books, TV shows, and video games. According to the building's official website, more than 250 movies contain depictions of the Empire State Building. [412] In his book about the building, John Tauranac writes that its first documented appearance in popular culture was Swiss Family Manhattan, a 1932 children's story by Christopher Morley. [413] A year later, the film King Kong depicted Kong, a large stop motion ape that climbs the Empire State Building, [137] [138] [281] bringing the building into the popular imagination. [281] Later movies such as An Affair to Remember (1957), Sleepless in Seattle (1993), and Independence Day (1996) also featured the building. [414] [412] The building has also been featured in other works, such as "Daleks in Manhattan", a 2007 episode of the TV series Doctor Who [414] and Empire, an eight-hour black-and-white silent film by Andy Warhol, [414] which was later added to the Library of Congress's National Film Registry. [415]

Empire State Building Run-Up

The Empire State Building Run-Up, a foot race from ground level to the 86th-floor observation deck, has been held annually since 1978. Its participants are referred to both as runners and as climbers, and are often tower running enthusiasts. The race covers a vertical distance of 1,050 ft (320 m) and takes in 1,576 steps. The record time is 9 minutes and 33 seconds, achieved by Australian professional cyclist Paul Crake in 2003, at a climbing rate of 6,593 ft (2,010 m) per hour. [416] [417]


Speculation and excavation

Stonehenge has long been the subject of historical speculation, and ideas about the meaning and significance of the structure continued to develop in the 21st century. English antiquarian John Aubrey in the 17th century and his compatriot archaeologist William Stukeley in the 18th century both believed the structure to be a Druid temple. This idea has been rejected by more-recent scholars, however, as Stonehenge is now understood to have predated by some 2,000 years the Druids recorded by Julius Caesar.

In 1963 American astronomer Gerald Hawkins proposed that Stonehenge had been constructed as a “computer” to predict lunar and solar eclipses other scientists also attributed astronomical capabilities to the monument. Most of these speculations, too, have been rejected by experts. In 1973 English archaeologist Colin Renfrew hypothesized that Stonehenge was the centre of a confederation of Bronze Age chiefdoms. Other archaeologists, however, have since come to view this part of Salisbury Plain as a point of intersection between adjacent prehistoric territories, serving as a seasonal gathering place during the 4th and 3rd millennia bce for groups living in the lowlands to the east and west. In 1998 Malagasy archaeologist Ramilisonina proposed that Stonehenge was built as a monument to the ancestral dead, the permanence of its stones representing the eternal afterlife.

In 2008 British archaeologists Tim Darvill and Geoffrey Wainwright suggested—on the basis of the Amesbury Archer, an Early Bronze Age skeleton with a knee injury, excavated 3 miles (5 km) from Stonehenge—that Stonehenge was used in prehistory as a place of healing. However, analysis of human remains from around and within the monument shows no difference from other parts of Britain in terms of the population’s health.

The Stonehenge that is visible today is incomplete, many of its original sarsens and bluestones having been broken up and taken away, probably during Britain’s Roman and medieval periods. The ground within the monument also has been severely disturbed, not only by the removal of the stones but also by digging—to various degrees and ends—since the 16th century, when historian and antiquarian William Camden noted that “ashes and pieces of burnt bone” were found. A large, deep hole was dug within the stone circle in 1620 by George Villiers, 1st duke of Buckingham, who was looking for treasure. A century later William Stukeley surveyed Stonehenge and its surrounding monuments, but it was not until 1874–77 that Flinders Petrie made the first accurate plan of the stones. In 1877 Charles Darwin dug two holes in Stonehenge to investigate the earth-moving capabilities of earthworms. The first proper archaeological excavation was conducted in 1901 by William Gowland.

About half of Stonehenge (mostly on its eastern side) was excavated in the 20th century by the archaeologists William Hawley, in 1919–26, and Richard Atkinson, in 1950–78. The results of their work were not fully published until 1995, however, when the chronology of Stonehenge was revised extensively by means of carbon-14 dating. Major investigations in the early 21st century by the research team of the Stonehenge Riverside Project led to further revisions of the context and sequence of Stonehenge. Timothy Darvill and Geoffrey Wainwright’s 2008 excavation was smaller but nonetheless important.


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The Castle was the first Smithsonian building, designed by architect James Renwick, Jr., whose other works include St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City and the Smithsonian's Renwick Gallery, also in Washington D.C. The building committee held a nationwide design competition in 1846 and selected Renwick's design by a unanimous vote. A cardboard model of Renwick's winning design survives and is on display in the Castle. Renwick was assisted by Robert Mills, [3] particularly in the internal arrangement of the building. [4]

Initially intended to be built in white marble, then in yellow sandstone, [4] the architect and building committee finally settled on Seneca red sandstone from the Seneca Quarry in Montgomery County, Maryland. The redstone was substantially less expensive than granite or marble, and while initially easy to work, was found to harden to a satisfactory degree on exposure to the elements. [5] Scholarly evidence indicates it is likely that slaves were employed at Seneca in quarrying stone for the Castle, though no evidence has surfaced that slaves were involved in the actual Castle construction. [6]

The building committee selected Gilbert Cameron as the general contractor, and construction began in 1847. The East Wing was completed in 1849 and occupied by Secretary Joseph Henry and his family. The West Wing was completed later the same year. A structural collapse in 1850 of partly completed work raised questions of workmanship and resulted in a change to fireproof construction. The Castle's exterior was completed in 1852 Renwick's work was completed and he withdrew from further participation. Cameron continued the interior work, which he completed in 1855. [3] Construction funds came from "accrued interest on the Smithson bequest." [7]

Despite the upgraded fireproof construction, a fire in 1865 caused extensive damage to the upper floor of the building, destroying the correspondence of James Smithson, Henry's papers, two hundred oil paintings of American Indians by John Mix Stanley, the Regent's Room and the lecture hall, and the contents of the public libraries of Alexandria, Virginia and Beaufort, South Carolina, confiscated by Union forces during the American Civil War. The ensuing renovation was undertaken by local Washington architect Adolf Cluss in 1865-67. Further fireproofing work ensued in 1883, also by Cluss, who by this time had designed the neighboring Arts and Industries Building. A third and fourth floor were added to the East Wing, and a third floor to the West Wing. Electric lighting was installed in 1895. [3]

Around 1900, the wooden floor of the Great Hall was replaced with terrazzo and a Children's Museum was installed near the south entrance. A tunnel connected to the Arts and Industries Building. A general renovation took place in 1968-70 to install modern electrical systems, elevators and heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. [3] The Enid A. Haupt Garden was dedicated in 1987, along with the Renwick Gate facing Independence Avenue, built from Seneca redstone retrieved from the demolished D.C. Jail. [8]

James Renwick designed the Castle as the focal point of a picturesque landscape on the Mall, using elements from Georg Moller's Denkmäler der deutschen Baukunst. Renwick originally intended to detail the building with entirely American sculptural flora in the manner of Benjamin Henry Latrobe's work at the United States Capitol, but the final work used conventional pattern-book designs. [4]

The building is completed in the Gothic Revival style with Romanesque motifs. This style was chosen to evoke the Collegiate Gothic in England and the ideas of knowledge and wisdom. The façade is built with red sandstone from the Seneca quarry in Seneca, Maryland in contrast to the granite, marble and yellow sandstone from the other major buildings in Washington, D.C. [5]

The building comprises a central section, two extensions or ranges, and two wings. Four towers contain occupiable space, while five smaller towers are primarily decorative, although some contain stairs. As constructed, the central section contained the main entry and museum space (now the Great Hall), with a basement beneath and a large lecture room above. Two galleries on the second floor were used to display artifacts and art. This area is now the Visitor's Information and Associates' Reception area. The East Range contained laboratory space on the first floor and research space on the second. The East Wing contained storage space on the first floor and a suite of rooms on the second as an apartment for the Secretary of the Smithsonian. This space is currently used as administrative offices and archives. The West Range was one story and used as a reading room. The West Wing, known as the chapel, was used as a library. [3] The West Wing and Range are now used as a quiet room for visitors to go.

On the exterior, the principal tower on the south side is 91 feet (28 m) high and 37 feet (11 m) square. On the north side there are two towers, the taller on 145 feet (44 m) tall. A campanile at the northeast corner is 17 feet (5.2 m) square and 117 feet (36 m) tall. [3]

The plan allowed for expansion at either end, a major reason for the informal medievally-inspired design, which would not suffer if asymmetrically developed. [4]


Anyone know what this stone building is? - History

Stone Masonry
Build an Enduring and Endearing Home of Stone

There is a certain irresistible charm about a stone house, and I simply would not settle for anything less. There is an aura of timelessness about stone houses, as if they have always been there and always will be. Perhaps this feeling of timelessness is exuded from the rocks themselves. Building with materials as old as nature makes a home seem as if it were part of the story of the land. Besides, a stone house can outlast any other kind of construction by hundreds of years.

Traditional Dry-Stack Stone Walls: Stone masonry originated with dry-stacked stonework where the walls are carefully layed up without mortar. Gravity serves as the glue that holds everything together. Free-standing dry-stack stone walls are usually made larger at the base and then taper in slowly as the height increases. For absolutely no expense but the labor, farmers built miles upon miles of stone fences this way in Ireland and in the northeastern states.

Many old Irish houses were built in a similar way. Where "mortar" was used, it was often merely mud or limestone plasters with little strength. The mortar functioned as caulking to stop the flow of air, rather than as cement to bond the stones together. Short, dry-stacked stone walls are especially ideal for landscaping projects. Taller walls require more skill and time. For more details on dry-stack stone walls, be sure to check out Building Stone Walls and Stonework: Techniques and Projects .

Traditional Mortared Stone Walls: Mortared stone walls evolved out of dry-stack stone work with the emergence of cement mortars. The first cements were made of burnt gypsum or lime mixed with water to make a paste with slight bonding capability. Stone walls still had to be built as carefully as they were without mortar. The cement paste just filled the gaps between the stones and cured to form a soft, rock-like substance.

The basic formula for modern cement originated in England in 1824. It is called "Portland cement" because the color is similar to the rocks on the English island of Portland. It is still called Portland cement everywhere in the world it is manufactured. This cement is made with calcium from limestone or chalk, plus alumina and silica from clay and shale. The ingredients are ground, mixed in the right porportions and burnt in a kiln at a temperature of about 2500 degrees F (1350 C) to drive out water bound up in the raw materials. In the kiln it fuses into chunks called clinker. It is cooled and powdered, and gypsum is added to control how fast it sets up. Portland cement is mixed with sand and water, and often lime to make a smooth mortar for stone and brick work. Adding the lime makes the mortar softer and more flexible.

With the aid of Portland cement it is possible to build a taller stone wall that does not taper inward like a dry-stacked wall. The cement has some ability to "glue" a stone wall together with less care, but proper stoneworking techiques are still important. Building a free-standing stone wall is a true art and requires a lot of time and skill to do it well. For more details on traditional mortared stone walls, be sure to check out Building with Stone .

Veneered Stone Walls: Most stonework today consists of a non-structural veneer of stone against a structural wall of concrete or cinderblock. Concrete consists of Portland cement mixed with sand, gravel and water. The larger particles of gravel interlock like little fingers to make the concrete resistant to cracking. Steel reinforcing bar can be added to serve as much longer "fingers" to make a wall that is very resistant to cracking. Concrete is a fast and relatively inexpensive way to put up a structural wall, so few people take the time for labor intensive traditional mortared stone walls any more.

Instead, the structural wall is put up first, and thin, flat stones are essentially glued onto the face of the wall with cement mortar. Metal tabs in the structural wall are mortared in between the stones to tie everything together, otherwise the stonework would just peel right off the wall. The structural wall serves as a form on one side of the wall to make it really easy to lay up the stonework, provided the rocks have good flat edges to work with.

Slipform Stone Walls: A slipformed wall might be described as a cross between traditional mortared stone wall and a veneered stone wall. This is the method of stone masonry we have used the most. Short forms, up to two feet tall, are placed on both sides of the wall to serve as a guide for the stone work. You place stones inside the forms with the good faces against the form work and pour concrete in behind the rocks. Rebar is added for strength, to make a wall that is approximately half concrete and rebar and half stonework. The wall can be faced with stone on one side or both sides. With slipforms it is easy even for the novice to build free-standing stone walls.

Tom's article The Art of Slipforming was featured in the December 1997/January 1998 issue of The Mother Earth News magazine. We received more than 150 letters from people enthusiastic to learn slipform masonry first-hand. Those who are familiar with the slip-forming process wrote to tell us the article was a significant advancement over the available literature on the subject. That article and much more are included in my book Living Homes: Stone Masonry, Log, and Strawbale Construction.

Framed-One Side Stone Walls: If you build a slipform stone building with stone on the outside and framed walls on the inside, then you eventually have to come to the conclusion that it would be smarter to build the frame wall first . By building the interior frame first, you will have half the formwork done, plus a straight and plumb guide to work from for doing your stonework. This is exactly the method used by Charles Long , featured in The Stone Builder's Primer . Long doesn't use slipforms at all, but simply does traditional mortared stone masonry with the benefit of a frame wall to serve as a form on the back. This method works exceptionally well when the rocks are squared and brick-like, but for rounded stones the novice would need forms to aid in the process.

In my article in The Mother Earth News , I proposed a similar method of slipform stone masonry, where the entire house would be framed with polystyrene beadboard insulation panels before beginning any stone masonry. The beadboard panels would serve as forms inside the wall and the stone masonry would be slipformed up the outside. That way it would be easier to build straight, plumb walls with less labor and fewer slipforms. The beadboard panels would also eliminate expensive wood framing on the inside of the walls while maximizing energy efficiency by eliminating thermal gaps through the framing. At least that was the theory. I hadn't actually tried it myself.

The first person to try this method was Dani Gruber of Colorado. She read the article in Mother and wanted to test out the new method of slipforming I had proposed. She didn't just build a house, but more of a castle, as featured in her story Slipforming--The Next Generation

In June of 2001 we built our own project with this new method of slipfoming, although on a slightly smaller scale. We built a small workshop of stone beside our home, and produced a step-by-step video of the process.

Tilt-Up Stone Walls: I would like to see much greater use of stone, since it is such a long lasting and beautiful material. After building a couple of houses with the easy, but still labor-intensive slipform method, I started dreaming of ways to mass produce highly efficient stone houses using modern technology. Tilt-up stone masonry seemed like a logical choice--that is pouring stone walls flat on the ground and setting them in place with a crane.

My brother grew interested in the idea and decided to figure it out himself. He liked the idea of building with stone, but didn't care for the slipform masonry technique we used. He chose tilt-up stone masonry as a faster way to build, that would also eliminate the cold joints that run throughout slipformed walls. Pouring the walls would simultaneously grout the stonework, insuring an integral bond that would prevent problems with the mortar cracking and falling out later. With tilt-up construction he would be able to bring the stonework up higher without having to lift each individual rock and bucket of concrete.

He bought a building lot a block away from our place built his house with the tilt-up method. I wrote about the process in the January 2003 issue of Fine Homebuilding Magazine . The article is included in more depth here: Tilt-Up Stone Masonry . It is also included in my book Living Homes: Stone Masonry, Log, and Strawbale Construction . Let me emphasize that tilt-up work is NOT for beginners. It requires an expereienced carpenter and mason, and it is really suited for mass-production, where the same forms are used again and again.

Thomas J. Elpel House-Building Projects
-Building a House on Limited Means
-We've Gone Solar!
-Building a Slipform Stone Workshop
-Building a Passive Solar Stone House - Part I
-Stone House: Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V
-Slipform Stone Masonry Class Information
-Slipform Stone Masonry Questions & Answers
More Stone Masonry Construction Articles and Resources -A reader builds a Slipform Stone Mansion
-A reader builds a Stone and Log House in France
-A reader builds a Stone House at the Center of the Universe
-A reader builds a Slipform Stone House on the Prairie
-A reader builds a house of Stone and Straw
-A reader builds a Wilderness Cabin of Stone
-Tilt-up Stone Masonry

Living Homes
Stone Masonry, Log, and Strawbale Construction
Building Your High-Efficiency Dream Home on a Shoestring Budget
by Thomas J. Elpel

Living Homes includes in-depth coverage of slipform stone masonry, building an efficient masonry fireplace, measuring and mixing concrete, footings and foundations, plus tilt-up stone masonry construction. Stone masonry coverage is together throughout the book with all other aspects of building, from innovative foundation solutions to creative roofing ideas, solar design, heating, plumbing and wiring. For complete details on the book, please go to: Living Homes: Stone Masonry, Log, and Strawbale Construction

Want to build a stone house? It's easier than you might think! Our Slipform Stone Masonry DVD brings to life the nuts-and-bolts of the slipforming process featured in Tom's book Living Homes .

Slipforming is the process of using forms on both sides of the wall as a guide for the stonework. The forms are filled with stone and concrete, then "slipped" up the walls to form the subsequent levels. Slipforming makes stone work easy even for the novice.

In this unique video, Thomas J. Elpel and Robert Taylor build an insulated workshop out of stone, demonstrating the building process from site excavation right through to putting the roof on and finishing the inside. Working through the month of June in Montana, they brave the rain and snow, gusting winds, searing heat and stunning rainbows to bring this project to fruition.

The video is designed as a companion to Tom's book Living Homes . The principles of design and construction are out-lined in the book, enabling the reader to create dwellings customized to their own unique situations. In this video you will see just one application of those principles, but in vivid detail from start to finish. With both the book and the video you too will be able to design and build in a way that is completely unique to your own Vision.

November 2001. 1 hr. 50 min. DVD. For additional details on the workshop we built, please click here .


Anyone know what this stone building is? - History

Who Built Stonehenge?

There are probably hundreds of myths and legends about Stonehenge. Various people have attributed the building of this great megalith to the Danes, Romans, Saxons, Greeks, Atlanteans, Egyptians, Phoenicians Celts, King Aurelius Ambrosious, Merlin, and even Aliens.

One of the most popular beliefs was that Stonehenge was built by the Druids. These high priests of the Celts, constructed it for sacrificial ceremonies. It was John Aubrey, who first linked Stonehenge to the Druids. Additionally, Dr. William Stukeley, another Stonehenge antiquary, also claimed the Druids were Stonehenge's builders. Stukeley studied Stonehenge a century later than Aubrey and became so involved in the study of the Druid religion that he himself became one. Through his work he was very instrumental in popularizing the theory that Stonehenge was built by Druids.

Unfortunately researchers have proven this age-old theory linking Stonehenge's construction to the Druids impossible. Through modern radio carbon dating techniques, scientists have discovered that its builders completed Stonehenge over a thousand years before the Celts ever inhabited this region, eliminating Druids from the possibilities. Usually Druids worshipped in marshes and forests, but it has been verified that they did use Stonehenge occasionally as a temple of worship and sacrifice when they moved into the region. Modern Druids, formally named the Grand Lodge of the Ancient Order of Druids, still congregate at Stonehenge on the midsummer solstice, clad in white robes and hoods. As recently as 1905, the Druids initiated 258 novices inside these stones on midsummer solstice. Today, for fear of its desecration, Stonehenge is usually shut off to public access on midsummer's eve.



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