Old New York In Photos #89 – The Flatiron Building Nears Completion 1902

A Previously Unpublished View Of The Flatiron Building 1902

There is nothing extraordinary about this photo of old New York. But because it is previously unpublished and taken by an amateur photographer at an interesting time, we’re sharing it here.

This sepia photograph is from an old personal photo album and was taken sometime in the summer of 1902. It shows the Flatiron Building as it neared completion. The scaffolding had been removed at the end of June 1902. If you look carefully you can see a sign in front of the building announcing space for rent.

The Flatiron Building is located at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Broadway at 23rd Street. When it was completed it was not the tallest building in New York at 307 feet, but the slenderest and most aquiline. It was, and still is considered by many to be the most remarkable building in New York. In 1902, hundreds of people would stop and just stare at the building for five or ten minutes. Then many of them would move to a slightly different  vantage point and continue looking at the building with amazement.

The Flatiron’s proper name is the Fuller Building, After it was built, the Directors of the Fuller Company announced on August 8, 1902 that the building would officially be called the Fuller Building. George A. Fuller who died in 1900, was the founder of the company that built the Flatiron.

The Fuller name never stuck and the press and public used the Flatiron nickname because of the building’s obvious resemblance to a flat iron.

As for the other features in our photograph we are looking south from 26th Street with Madison Square Park’s trees visible on the left.

Life goes on the big city, as a horse drawn wagon ambles down Fifth Avenue. Many pedestrians walk on the sidewalks and many more walk in the street without worry as there are few vehicles.

On the far right directly above the man with the straw hat crossing the street with a package under his arm, is the obelisk of the General Worth Monument. Behind the Worth monument, the building with the flag on it is the Fifth Avenue Hotel which was demolished in 1908.

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