Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Tallest Non-NYC Skyscraper In The World Was Built In Four Years 100 Years Ago

A couple days ago, in a blogging about the Dallas skyline being the best in the world, somehow mention was made of Seattle's Smith Tower.

Regarding Seattle's Smith Tower, Mr. Steve A made a comment...

Steve A has left a new comment on your post "This Morning I Learned The Dallas Skyline Is The Best In The World":

Speaking of the Smith Tower, according to "Eccentric Seattle," it was the tallest building in the world outside of New York City at the time it was built. Even including NYC, it was the 4th tallest. Even it was built quicker than the FW bridges. 

I did not know the Smith Tower was the tallest building in the world, outside NYC, when it was built. I did know the Smith Tower was the tallest building west of the Mississippi until a taller building was built in Kansas City in 1931.

The Smith Tower remained the tallest building on the West Coast until the Space Needle came to town in 1962.

The Smith Tower is a 38 story, 489 foot tall tower.

Steve A's comment caused me to decide to add the Smith Tower to our popular series of bloggings about feats of engineering which took four years or less to complete.

For those new to the program, we are looking at feats of engineering which took four years or less to complete due to our utter amazement that America's Biggest Boondoggle, also known as the Trinity River Uptown Central City Panther Island Vision Boondoggle is building three simple little bridges, over dry land, with a four year construction timeline, connecting the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island.

As you can see via the graphic above, gleaned from Wikipedia, the Smith Tower began to rise from the ground in 1910, completed in 1914. I am terrible at math, but that seems like a four year construction timeline to me. To build what was then the tallest skyscraper in the world, other than those located in New York City.

The Smith Tower has a very good Smith Tower website, where you can learn all about the Chinese Room, the observation deck and see an interesting illustration where you see what the Smith Tower looked like when it was the only skyscraper in town. And what it looks now, dwarfed by its new neighbors.

I found a Seattle skyline image that shows you the Smith Tower and its new neighbors.

The Smith Tower is that structure at the far right of the photo. As you can see, even at 489 feet, it is a midget next to the new kids on the block.

As you can also see, the Space Needle is at the far left, a distance away from the downtown Seattle skyscrapers. Way too many photos of the Seattle skyline indulge in what we in Fort Worth call the Brian Luenser effect, as in distorted images that give a false impression.

Most photos of the Seattle skyline make it look as if the Space Needle is the tallest structure, and that Mount Rainier is hovering real close.

Are any of Fort Worth's skyscrapers as tall as the Smith Tower? I have no idea.....

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