American Treasures of the Library of Congress: Memory, Exhibit Object Focus

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The Woolworth Building

Woolworth Building, New York City
Cass Gilbert (1859-1934)
Woolworth Building, New York City.
Sketch elevation

Graphite on paper, December 31, 1910
Prints & Photographs Division

On April 24th, 1913, President Woodrow Wilson pressed a button in Washington, D. C., that first illuminated the more than 5,000 windows in New York City's Woolworth Building. A triumph of American building technology and architectural prowess, it reigned as the world's tallest building until 1930. Known as "the Cathedral of Commerce," the Woolworth Building was clad in gleaming architectural terra-cotta. Located on one of busiest sites in the city, with a gilded roof ascending to 793 feet, it became an international symbol of New York City and America's "can do" spirit.

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