The Bunget Arts & Culture proposes to look at these American monumental buildings that have been demolished to make space for younger ones. The phenomenon of demolishing buildings with impeccable architecture to replace them with new ones with more glass and steel is common to many countries around the world. Europe suffered from such demolitions, and much is currently being discussed about rebuilding some. In the United States, the phenomenon has not only reached small buildings to make space for skyscrapers, but also skyscrapers were demoished too. Today, after we understood that postmodernism does not lead anywhere, we have begun to rebuild what we have demolished, or, of course, to build old, classical, Renaissance, traditionalist, etc.
The symbol of American prosperity has always been the way of building vertical cities. The beginning of the twentieth century saw a real explosion of skyscrapers in all major cities in the United States. Many have been built, but have also been demolished, including skyscrapers, symbols of the American prosperity.
The New York City Hall Post Office was built in 1905 next to the City Hall of Manhattan. This building was ugly to the public, even called by some as “Mullett’s monstrosity.” Because of this stupid situation, but also due to the fact that during the construction three workers died during an accident, the building was demolished in 1939.
The Federal Building in Chicago was inaugurated in 1905 and hosted many: from the Federal Court to the post office. However, in 1965, it was found that its life was useless and it was decided to demolish it.
Vanderbilt Residence in Manhattan. The Vanderbilt family built a lot of urban villas in New York in the 1880s. The building below complimented Cornelus Vanderbilt II. It was built in 1882 and was the largest private residence ever built in Manhattan. The demolition took place in 1926.
Singer Building or Singer Tower on Liberty Street and Broadway in the Financial District of Manhattan was a 47-storey corporate building inaugurated in 1908 as Singer Manufacturing Company. It was the tallest building in the world from 1908 to 1909. A rare beauty, and the fact that it was also a skyscraper, gives it even more charm. It was demolished in 1968.
The Wabash Pittsburgh Terminal was a railroad station inaugurated in 1904. It was described as “the most beautiful railway station in western New York” by The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but also the most grandiose Beaux-Arts skyscrapers in the city “. The building was demolished in 1953 to make room for the Gateway Center complex.
Masonic Temple Building was a skyscraper in Chicago, Illinois, built in 1892. This was designed by Burnham and Root. After removing the clock tower on the Board of Trade Building in 1895, Masonic Temple Building became the tallest building in the city. Demolition took place in 1939.
Richfield Tower, also known as the Richfield Oil Company Building, was built between 1928 and 1929. It served as the headquarters for Richfield Oil. It was designed by Stiles O. Clments and decorated with a marvelous black and gold façade in Art Déco style. The unusual color scheme symbolized “black gold,” which meant Richfield’s business. The exterior sculptures were made by Haig Patigian. The building was located in the center of Los Angeles, California. The company outgrew the building, and it was demolished in 1969, much to the dismay of Los Angeles residents and those interested in architectural preservation, to make way for the present ARCO Plaza skyscraper complex. The elaborate black-and-gold elevator doors were salvaged from the building and now reside in the lobby of the new ARCO building (now City National Tower).
Tacoma Building was one of the first skyscrapers in Chicago. Inaugurated in 1889, it was the first major project by Holabird and Roche. That building was demolished in 1929 to be replaced by One North LaSalle.
Morrison Hotel was a very high hotel in the center of Chicago’s Loop neighborhood, Illinois. It was designed by the architectural firm Holabird and Roche and inaugurated in 1925. The hotel was demolished in 1965 to make space for the first Chase Tower building.
J.L. Hudson Building (“Hudson’s“) was a universal store in downtown Detroit, Michigan. It was built in early 1911, with additions throughout the years, the last being made in 1946. The building was demolished in 1998.
Farmers Bank Building was a 27-storey building in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was 105 meters and was built in 1902. Demolition took place in 1997.
Text by Claudiu C. CREȚU
Photography by Wikimedia Commons
© The Bunget Arts & Culture 2019