Masonic Building Chicago; the world's tallest building from 1892 to 1894.
Preceded by: New York World BuildingSurpassed by: Manhattan Life Insurance Building
The Masonic Temple Building was a skyscraper built in Chicago, Illinios in 1892. Constructed by early skyscraper pioneer, Daniel Burnham, it was briefly the tallest building in the world, at 302 feet (92 meters) tall. It was surpassed only 2 years later by the Manhattan Life Building in New York City. Although the World Building in New York had architectural details that were higher off the ground, the Masonic Temple had a higher occupied floor. In 1895, when the clock tower was removed from the Board of Trade Building it became the tallest building in Chicago.
Built at the corner of Randolph and State Streets by the firm of Burnham and Root, the building rose 22 stories. It featured a central court ringed by nine floors of shops with offices above and meeting rooms for the Masons at the very top. These meeting rooms also served as theatres, which contributed to the building's obsolescence; its elevators proved inadequate for these crowds, and the building rapidly fell from favour with commercial tenants.
Both the building's primary designer, John Welborn Root, and the Mason's primary representative, Norman Gassette, died of unrelated causes during its construction
Chicago's building height regulations, enacted in 1892, did not allow taller building until the 1920's. In 1939, The Masonic Temple was demolished, in part due to its poor internal services, but also due to the construction of the new State Street subway, which would have necessitated expensive foundation retrofitting. A two-story "taxpayer" was erected in its place, and the Joffrey Tower is under construction on the former site of this building.