The Day by Day History of the
The Empire State Building Opens
May 1, 1931
If you have ever seen the movie "King Kong,"
you may remember the building that the giant ape climbs. The
Empire State Building officially opened on this day in history,
May 1, 1931. President Herbert Hoover pressed a button in
Washington, D.C., and on came the lights in the world's tallest
skyscraper. Before that, the Chrysler Building briefly
held the record at 1046 feet. Now, the tallest building in the
United States is the 110-story Sears Tower in Chicago.
Standing proud on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 34th Street in
New York City, the Empire State Building has 102 stories and
reaches a height of 1,454 feet. Motivated by a competition
between the leaders of Chrysler and General Motors, John Jacob
Raskob of General Motors and Alfred E. Smith, a former governor
of New York, formed a corporation to finance the building.
Construction started in 1930. The steel framework of the Empire
State Building rose to the sky at an incredible rate of 4 and
1/2 stories per week. The building's construction was completed
in a phenomenal one year and forty-five days! The mast on top,
now a TV tower, was originally a mooring for dirigibles, or
airships, which in the 1930s were considered to be the future of
Have you or members of your family visited
the Empire State Building? What is the tallest building you have
ever been to the top of? What did you see?