The race for the World’s tallest building

Did you know that the Bank of Manhattan Trust Company was beaten in a race for the tallest building? Walter Chrysler funded the Chrysler Building right in the midst of an intense race to build the world’s tallest skyscraper.

The race between the Chrysler Building and the Bank of Manhattan Trust Company was particularly close and highly competitive. While throughout the build competition was even, the Bank of Manhattan Trust Company finished first. They saw no opportunity for the Chrysler Building to surpass them.

Once construction was complete, Building Designer, H. Craig Severance went public and claimed that the Bank of Manhattan Trust Company building was officially the tallest in the world. After this claim, William Van Alen, architect for the Chrysler Building, sought and gained permission to build an additional 125 foot long spire to go atop of the building.

This spire was kept secret during construction and built inside, on the bottom floor of the building. In October, 1929, the spire was raised up through the building making the Chrysler Building the winner by 119 feet.

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