On this day in 1931, President Herbert Hoover officially dedicated the Empire State Building as the tallest building in the world. The New York City skyscraper would retain the title for nearly 40 years until the World Trade Center was built in 1972. Today, the K in Dubai claims the honor as tallest building in the world standing at 2717 ft. In 1931, however, the Empire State Building was, and continues to be, an architectural wonder and iconic masterpiece in the Big Apple skyline.
The building was less of an artistic contribution to the city skyline and more of a business competition.
John Jakob Raskob, CFO of General Motors and the mastermind behind the 1454 foot high building planned to create a skyscraper taller than the tallest building in the world at the time – the Chrysler Building. The Chrysler Motor Company was a major competitor in the day.
When jobs were scarce in the Great Depression, Raskob’s construction team hired 3,400 employees to erect the massive monument that is now one of the most recognizable features in the New York skyline.
A little friendly competition can go a long way!