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The Manhattan Building

The First 16-Story Skyscraper


The late 19th Century building boom created a race to the top for developers, architects, and engineers. This Chicago landmark has been called the oldest surviving skyscraper in the world.
Photo of high-rise building in Chicago.

The Manhattan Building in Chicago, designed and built in 1891 by William LeBaron Jenney.

Photo ©Payton Chung, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0), flickr.com

The Manhattan Building

Location: 431 Dearborn St., Chicago, Illinois
Architect: William LeBaron Jenney
Year Built: 1891
Height: 170 feet
Stories: 16

About the Manhattan Building:

The lower floor cast-iron exterior facade does not hold the building's weight. The interior steel framework allowed the building's height to soar and the exterior to be a skin of windows. Compare with Jenney's earlier 1885 Home Insurance Building.

Sources: Chicago Architecture Info, ©2012 Artefaqs Corporation; Manhattan Building, Chicago - A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary, National park Service. Websites accessed September 11, 2012.

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