U.S. Skyscrapers: A Brief History

The 10-story Home Insurance Building in Chicago (1885) is usually considered the first modern skyscraper; Chicago and New York City have dominated the lists of America’s tallest buildings ever since.

Here are the tallest buildings in the country, since 1885:

1885-1890Home Insurance Building, Chicago, 180 feet (demolished)

1890-1894New York World Building, New York, 309 feet (demolished)

1894-1895Manhattan Life Insurance Building, New York, 348 feet (demolished)

1895-1899City Hall, Milwaukee, 353 feet

1899-1901Park Row Building, New York, 391 feet

1901-1908City Hall, Philadelphia, 548 feet

1908-1909Singer Building, New York, 612 feet (demolished)

1909-1913Metropolitan Life Insurance Building, New York, 700 feet

1913-1930Woolworth Building, New York, 792 feet

1930-1930 40 Wall Street (now the Trump Building), New York, 927 feet

1930-1931Chrysler Building, New York, 1,046 feet

1931-1972Empire State Building, New York, 1,250 feet

1972-1974One World Trade Center, New York, 1,368 feet (destroyed)

1974-2013Sears Tower (now Willis Tower), Chicago, 1,451 feet

2013-present - One World Trade Center, New York, 1,776 feet






Chrysler Building, New York City