This paper examines the early history of skyscrapers using New York City as its case study. Skyscrapers become possible because of the Industrial Revolution which provided the steel needed for its tall structure and the demand for office space. The early skyscrapers were both praised and criticized by the public. Concerns over the health, economic, and aesthetic consequences led to the passing of the 1916 Zone Ordinance. Following the ordinance, New York City saw a boom of skyscrapers and the creation of a uniquely American architectural style. Before all skyscraper construction completely halted, the Empire State Building was completed. It became a symbol of America's global power and prestige and represents America's innovation and the teamwork required to build such an unprecedented skyscraper.

First Advisor

Doug Sackman

Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts in History

Date of Award

Spring 5-19-2019