Woolworth Building

Cass Gilbert

This famous skyscraper, 792 feet tall, was commissioned by Frank W. Woolworth, the owner of the five and dime chain. It has a "U"-shaped plan with a 29-story mass at the bottom and with a 30-story square tower rising from the center of the front. The whole is sheathed with cream-colored terra cotta. Details in the entrance, the setbacks, and top borrow from Gothic architecture. See also the Chicago Tribune Tower for a later Gothic revival skyscraper.


The front facade and "Gothic" details of the entrance


The shaft, setback, and top

The building was nick-named early the "Cathedral of Commerce," a cognomen clearly justified by the interior lobby with vaulted mosaic-covered ceilings and a profusion of Neo-Gothic details.

The "Gothic" lobby

Other buildings by Cass Gilbert on this site include: Allen Memorial Art Museum (Oberlin), Bosworth Hall/Fairchild Chapel (Oberlin), Cox Administration Bulding (Oberlin), and Finney Chapel (Oberlin).

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Copyright Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.

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