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Empire State Building to Turn 75 on Monday

April 30, 2006|From the Associated Press

NEW YORK — The Empire State Building, once the tallest building in the world, is turning 75 years old Monday.

Like London's Crystal Palace and the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Empire State Building represented in its time "what we were capable of," says Carol Willis, an architectural historian and founder-director of the Skyscraper Museum in lower Manhattan.

Construction of the Empire State Building was one of the most remarkable feats of the 20th century. It took only 410 days to build -- by 3,400 workers, many of them desperate for work at the height of the Great Depression. The largely immigrant workforce also included hundreds of iron workers from the Mohawk tribe.

The 1,454-foot tower opened on May 1, 1931, with President Hoover pressing a button in Washington to turn on its lights. Architect William Lamb, the chief designer, messaged former New York Gov. Al Smith from a ship at sea: "One day out and I can still see the building."

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Friday May 05, 2006 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 65 words Type of Material: Correction
Empire State Building: An April 30 article in Section A about the Empire State Building's 75th anniversary said that its 102 floors were topped by a 200-foot tower. In fact, the 200-foot mooring mast begins at the 86th floor and the 102nd floor is a smaller observation deck on top of the mast. Broadcast transmission antennas of varying heights sit on top of the mast.

Its 102 floors are topped by a 200-foot tower -- designed but never used as a mooring mast for dirigibles.

It was the world's tallest edifice until it was surpassed in 1972 by the World Trade Center; it again became the city's tallest after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, destroyed the 110-story twin towers. It is now the ninth-tallest in the world; second in the U.S. behind Chicago's Sears Tower.

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