The Empire State Building

President Herbert Hoover officially dedicated the Empire State Building to New York in 1931. He symbolically pressed a button to turn on the building's lights while he was in Washington D.C. and someone else flicked them on in New York. Nevertheless, his dedication of the building has not been forgotten.

The idea for the Empire State Building is said to have come from a competition between Walter Chrysler and John Raskob to see who could build the taller building. Not to be outdone by Chrysler's 1,046-foot skyscraper, Raskob assembled a group of well-known investors to build the Empire State Building. The entire building went up in just over a year, under a $40 million budget and well ahead of schedule. During certain periods of building, the frame grew an astonishing four-and-a-half stories a week.

The Empire State Building was the world's tallest skyscraper, but soon lost its title to the World Trade Center. It had employed as many as 3,400 workers on any given day. Most workers received excellent pay, especially considering the Great Depression began just a few years before.