Manhattan Building

The Manhattan Building is a 16-story building at 431 South Dearborn Street in Chicago, Illinois. It was designed by architect William Le Baron Jenney and constructed from 1889 to 1891. It is the oldest surviving skyscraper in the world to use a purely skeletal supporting structure. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on March 16, 1976, and designated a Chicago Landmark on July 7, 1978.


The distinctive bay windows provide light into the building's interior spaces, and the combination of a granite facade for the lower floors and brick facade for the upper stories helps lighten the load placed on the internal steel framework. The north and south walls of tile are supported on steel cantilevers that carry the load back to the internal supporting structure.

The versatility and strength of metal frame construction made the skyscraper possible, as evidenced by this structure, which reaches the then-astounding height of 16 stories in 1891. Its architect was a pioneer in the development of tall buildings.