100 Years Ago Today

A History Of Events And Happenings From Exactly One Hundred Years Ago

The Tallest Skyscraper In The World

After working in a dry goods store in Watertown, New York Frank Winfield Woolworth opened his first Woolworth’s store in Utica, New York in 1878 but the store failed within a year. A secondstore he opened in June 1879 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania became a success. More stores opened and the FW Woolworth Company was among the first five-and-dime stores which sold discounted general merchandise at fixed prices, usually 5 or 10 cents, undercutting the prices of other local merchants. Woolworth as the stores popularly became known, was one of the first American retailers to put merchandise out for the shopping public to handle and select without the assistance of a sales clerk. Before that retailers kept all merchandise behind a counter and customers presented the clerk with a list of items they wished to buy. The stores eventually incorporated lunch counters and served as general gathering places.

Woolworths storefront
The old five and dime

A lunch counter at Woolworth

In 1912 with over 80 stores in the US Woolworths is one of America’s largest retailers. Frank Woolworth has commissioned the design and construction of the Woolworth Building in New York City at 233 Broadway. The building is being paid for entirely in cash.

The Woolworth Building – foundation construction
October 1911

On July 1, 1912 the Woolworth Building became the world’s tallest skyscraper at 792 feet with the driving in of the final rivet to its steel frame It will be twice the height of most other buildings in New York City at the time which makes it the tallest building in the world.

The Woolworth Building – the tallest building in the world
July 1, 1912

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