September 3 is National Skyscraper Day. So in tribute, we thought we’d share a few Texas skyscraper fun facts. Here we go.
Numero uno. The Praetorian Building in downtown Dallas, also known as the Stone Place Tower, was the state’s first skyscraper—first in the entire Southwestern U.S., in fact. A fraternal insurance organization from Dallas, the Praetorian Order, had in built in 1909. It took nearly four years to construct and cost about $800,000. The outside of its brick and steel structure was adorned with granite columns, ceramic pillars and gold ornamentation. The completed building contained 15 stories and stood 190 feet tall—modest in comparison to today’s high rises. The building was a business hub for decades but was dismantled in 2013.
Dizzying heights. The tallest building in Texas is Houston’s JP Morgan Chase Tower, which has 75 floors and measures in at 1,002 feet tall. The building, which used to be known as the Texas Commerce Tower, took two years to complete and was finished in 1981. It also has the distinction of being the tallest five-sided building in the world. Early designs called for the building to be several stories taller, but there were concerns from officials because of the nearby airport.
Coming up short. Wichita Falls boasts the world’s littlest “skyscraper,” the Newby-McMahon Building. Finished in 1919, the Newby-McMahon building stands a mere 40 feet tall and at its widest point measures only 18 feet. The builder, structural engineer and petroleum investor J.D McMahon, is said to have swindled investors into giving him money to construct a 480-foot tall building, according to testimony from the lawsuit that later ensued. But his designs only called for a building that was 480 inches tall, and the judge eventually ruled in his favor.
From all of us here at Veteran Energy, happy National Skyscraper Day, Texas.