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Today In History: May 1st, 1931

View of the Manhattan skyline with the Empire State Building and Chrysler Building (R), New York City, 1940s. (Photo Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
View of the Manhattan skyline with the Empire State Building and Chrysler Building (R), New York City, 1940s. (Photo Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

U.S. President Herbert Hoover Officially Dedicates the Empire State Building

On May 1, 1931, a momentous occasion unfolded in the heart of New York City as U.S. President Herbert Hoover officially dedicated the Empire State Building, marking the culmination of a remarkable engineering feat. Despite being hundreds of miles away in Washington, D.C., President Hoover played a pivotal role in the ceremony, remotely activating the building’s exterior lights from the White House. This gesture illuminated the towering skyscraper for the first time, captivating the nation during the Great Depression.

The Empire State Building’s completion was a triumph of innovation and determination, completed in just 410 days amidst the economic challenges of the era. Designed by architectural firm Shreve, Lamb & Harmon, the building rose to a staggering height of 1,454 feet, making it the tallest structure in the world at the time. Its construction was a testament to the ingenuity of the engineers and the dedication of the thousands of workers who labored tirelessly to erect this iconic symbol of progress.

goodyear blimp flying past top of empire state buliding circa 1931
October 1, 1931: Goodyear blimp flies near the Empire State Building. (Photo Credit: NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

Beyond its sheer height, the Empire State Building boasted numerous fascinating features and achievements. It was equipped with the fastest elevators in the world at the time, traveling 800 feet per minute up and down seven miles of elevator shafts. Additionally, the building was originally intended to include a mooring mast for airships, envisioning a future where dirigibles could dock directly atop the skyscraper. While this feature proved impractical and was never utilized, it showcased the forward-thinking vision behind the building’s design.

More from us: The Empire State Building was Once Hit By a B-25 Bomber

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Since its completion, the Empire State Building has remained a beacon of American innovation and resilience, enduring as a beloved icon of New York City and the United States. Its silhouette has graced countless films, television shows, and works of literature, solidifying its place in popular culture. Today, the Empire State Building stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of achievement and serves as a reminder of the remarkable dedication and vision that brought it to life on that historic day in May 1931.

TVN News Poster

TVN News Poster is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News