120 broadway

Equitable Life Building

Arthur Gilman and Edward Kendall, architects

New York, New York, 1870

Before the invention of elevators, buildings could only be so tall before the occupants would complain about walking up all those stairs. Elevators were installed and tested for the first time in The Equitable Life Building on 120 Broadway in New York City. The building and its elevators were a great success, eventually leading to New York’s transformation into a skyscraper city.

A fire struck the building on January 9, 1912. It was so cold that day that the water sprayed on the building froze instantly, and the firetrucks froze stuck to the building.