4 Historic Buildings That Have Been Demolished

Whether you’re a history buff, architecture guru, or simply a fan of a more regal, iconic time in our nation’s past, there’s no denying the importance, magnificence, and grandeur of some of the country’s most timeless and well-recognized structures. Here, we’ve rounded up four buildings that have made headlines for their unique style, progressive plans, controversial demolitions, and historic significance.

1. The Singer Building, New York

In the days of booming business and growing architecture, the building that served as the headquarters for the Singer Sewing Machine Company once held the title of the world’s tallest skyscraper. Sadly, after about 60 short years, the iconic structure soon nabbed the distinction of being the world’s tallest skyscraper to be peacefully demolished.

From the time it opened its doors to the public in 1908, the Singer Building garnered much attention on the bustling streets of downtown Manhattan, mostly due to the building’s architect Ernest Flagg, whose vision was to see tall city buildings set back from the streets, rather than perched on the edge. After the building was eventually sold, though, a growing need for more office space, not less, eventually led to the Singer Building’s demolition, and what is now One Liberty Plaza.

2. Federal Building, Chicago

Designed by Henry Ives Cobb, Chicago’s Federal Building served as the Courthouse and U.S. Post Office from 1905 to 1965, when demolition began to make room for two other buildings, as cited in the plans for the new Federal Center. Currently, the Loop Station Post Office, completed in 1973, and the new Federal Building,  completed in 1974, remain a major historical site. The Federal Building was also renamed in 1975 and is currently known as the John C. Kluczynski Federal Building.

3. U.S. Post Office, Boston

In 1872, the Great Fire of Boston spread for two days, setting the business district ablaze and destroying 776 buildings in its path. Located on Congress Street between Milk and Water Streets, the Boston Post Office was still under construction, but its massive walls are often credited as the final barrier from the fire’s northward progression. As a result, a revised set of city fire codes led to wider streets, creating a triangular clearance in front of the post office, which became known as Post Office Square. As construction plans progressed and Post Office Square continued to grow, the John D. McCormack Federal Building and Post Office on Congress Street replaced the old post office in 1932.

4. Penn Station, New York

A magnificent structure that has since been replaced by the currently world-famous Penn Station, the demolishing of the Beaux Arts structure is considered by most an epic fail in the architectural world. The original train station can only be described as a masterpiece of grandeur, a time when business men and women more closely resembled classic characters out of Mad Men rather than the current city-dwellers. Designed by McKim, Mead, and White, the iconic structure opened in 1910, boasting high-vaulted ceilings in the terminal, and an exterior surrounded by 84 Doric columns, only to be torn down in 1963. Today’s Penn Station was built in 1968, and is considered to be a slap in the face to its predecessor. In fact, there is much discussion about the need to return the now dark, dingy, despised Penn Station to its once storied past.