Thursday, June 14, 2012

Park Row, New York

I like to imagine being the young woman in Fort Benton, Montana who received this postcard in 1906. It must have seemed  fantastic, nearly unbeleivable. But then again, if you have a  prophetic name like Vista Henderson, maybe not.

At the time, the iconic Park Row skyscraper was the tallest office building in the world.  Note that the sender drew him or herself on the top of the building, along with a message that reads:

How would you like to be at the top of this? In a hotel we stayed at, our rooms were on the 17th floor and the diningroom  was six stories higher up, on the 23.

The Park Row Building was built in 1899 and remained the tallest office building until the Singer Building was completed in 1908. Currently, the building is a mixture of commercial and residential uses.

The message on the front of this card, sent to Jessie M. Gray in Portland, Oregon, reads:

Dear Jessie:
I am expecting a letter. Having a fine time on Coney Island tonight. Saw a girl in the theatre last night looked like you. Don't work too hard is my advice to all young people. how is "Oregon" hotel overtime. Regards "Jimmie"

Here are two additional views of the building.

And here are the backs of the cards in the same order.


  1. Jimmie was very clever with his one sentence, he let her know he was thinking of her and that he was at the theater! I do like the height and beauty of this, but I especially like the smaller building stuck in the center of it all too! Very nice cards!

  2. A tall building like that- 391'- certainly would have seemed otherworldly to someone living in Montana at the time (where the tallest building even now is only 272', built in 1985...). The race to have the tallest building continues today, with the current record holder in Dubai measuring in at 2723'- seven Park Rows stacked on top of each other.

  3. My stomach doesn't appreciate the idea of standing on the edge of the roof of the Park Row Building like the sender of the first card is imagining herself.

  4. Where most newspapers had their headquarters way back when, I love reading stories of that old era. Grand buildings.

  5. Vista Henderson -- That's a name out of central casting as they say.

  6. That building must have been quite famous and impressive back then, but this is the first time I have heard of it.

  7. Its funny how in architecture, just as in real life we need bigger and better and more extreme experiences and things to impress us. I building like that, in this day and age is nothing in compared to other buildings around, but at the time it must have been pretty impressive.



Related Posts with Thumbnails