When Were the 125 Cities' Tallest Buildings Built?


Over the years, construction of tall buildings has come in spurts – depending on the state of the economy.

Looking at the year of construction of the tallest buildings in each of the 125 cities, it’s easy to see some patterns. This list shows how many were built in each decade. (Note: There are more than 125 buildings listed here, as some cities have a tie for tallest building.)

1910s – 2

1920s - 9

1930s – 6

1940s – 0

1950s – 1

1960s – 4

1970s – 29

1980s – 39

1990s – 24

2000s – 13

2010s - 1

The oldest buildings on this list are the state capitols in Cheyenne and Madison, both built in 1917.

In 14 of the 125 cities, the tallest buildings were built between 1926 and 1933. These cities are Davenport, Erie, Burlington (Vt.), Stockton, Providence, Rochester (N.Y.), Charleston (W.V.), Rockford, Newark, New York City, Akron, Youngstown, Baton Rouge, and Lincoln.

For various reasons, nothing taller has ever been built in these cities - most of which are in the Northeast and Midwest.





Wyoming State Capitol, Cheyenne


(New York City is a special case.  Many new skyscrapers – including the World Trade Center - have been built there since the Empire State Building was constructed in 1931.)

Between 1934 and 1954 – through the Great Depression, World War Two, and the immediate postwar years - no building was constructed that is now the tallest in one of the 125 cities.

Between 1955 and 1967, only two were built - in Lubbock in 1955 and Memphis in 1965. That makes just two buildings in 34 years, from 1934 through 1967.

Then came the first boom. Between 1968 and 1979, 34 buildings were constructed. The peak was in 1970-73, with 18.

The next boom followed almost immediately, with 62 buildings between 1981 and 1996. The peak was 1984-1992, with 47 buildings.

After that, construction slowed considerably, with one building in 1998 and 13 from 2002 to 2009 (including five in 2008).