The Longdogs

The Longdogs
Willy, Harley (back center), and Gretchen

The World's Littlest Skyscraper, Wichita Falls, TX

Wichita Falls is home to the world's littlest skyscraper.  It is located on the corner of Seventh Street and LaSalle.  Built in 1919, the four-story red brick structure is just 40 feet tall with 118 square feet per floor.  The stairs leading up to the next floor take up about 1/4 of the footage on each floor.
WichitaFalls Tx Littlest Skyscraper

This is the legendary story:  When the discovery of black gold in nearby Burkburnett turned thousands of Wichita County residents into instant millionaires, mineral rights deals were being made on street corners and in the shade of quickly erected tents that served as oil company headquarters.  There was a desperate need for office space in the city.  A Philadelphia oil man/promoter named J.D. McMahon came to the rescue.  With blueprints in hand, he quickly sold $200,000 in stock to investors in the frenzy of the day.  What he failed to mention and nobody noticed was that the scale of his blueprints was in inches rather than feet.  Investors too busy to keep an eye on construction ultimately found themselves owners of a building that looked more like an elevator shaft than a high-rise office space.  The finished building's outside dimensions were a closet-sized 11 feet by 19 feet.  Of course, McMahon was long gone by the time construction was complete.  Investors chased after him and sought legal counsel only to find that they had no case as McMahon built the building exactly to the blueprints the investors had signed off on.

Oil companies squeezed desks into the building and used it until the boom ended.  The building was boarded up and forgotten during the Depression.  In 1986, it was deeded to the Wichita County Heritage Society who tried to preserve it but it was again orphaned and there was talk of tearing it down.  Bundy, Young, Sims & Potter, an architectural firm went into partnership with Martin Groves Electric and purchased the building and spent $180,000 remodeling it.  Dick Bundy mentioned the building at a Harvard University conference on construction of high-rise buildings and was asked to tell the story of the building.

Check it out.  This isn't a site you will see anywhere else but Wichita Falls, TX.

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