Skyscrapers are tall structures that reach the sky. These enormous feats of exquisite engineering gleam with the rising sun and touch the clouds. While they are, by definition, meant to be tall and towering, did you know a project scam resulted in the creation of the smallest skyscraper in the world?
In 1919, the World’s Smallest Skyscraper was constructed in Wichita Falls. Remote investors were duped by purposefully failing to note that the units on the proposed plans were in inches rather than feet.
The World’s Littlest Skyscraper
In Wichita, Texas, a skyscraper stands at 40 feet or 12 meters tall. The structure is known as the Newby-McMahon one and is referred to as the world’s littlest skyscraper, despite being smaller than many homes and intended to be very tall.
Instead, a plain error radically altered its course. A petroleum reservoir was found in Texas in 1918. This led to a significant oil boom. Wichita Falls had developed into a location where investors would invest heavily in building projects. They were sure that their investment would bring them great wealth.
Not much time passed after the boom. All of the assumptions about this location later turned out to be false. In the midst of all of this, a four-story skyscraper was used by some individuals to con some investors. (Source: Texas Coop Power)
The investors completely missed the fact that the building’s drawings stated it would be 480″ long, which is 480 inches, but it was meant to be 480′ long, which is 480 feet, and they accepted it only to discover later that it was not what they had anticipated.
They sued JD McMahon, the owner of the building’s construction company. Still, they were unsuccessful since it was their responsibility for failing to read the drawings to understand what they were getting. McMahon had very deftly snuck in an extra line to make this blueprint legally binding, and there was nothing they could do to stop the swindle.
McMahon had received the investors’ legal approval. They essentially got what they asked for with his plan. For the construction of this structure, he acquired $200,000 from these investors which is about $3 million today.
Due to the investors’ lack of diligence, McMahon easily won this legal dispute. They failed to recognize the distinction between inches and feet. He got the cash and departed from Wichita. For these investors, it wasn’t just disappointing but also shameful. It seems unimaginable to lose so much money over a four-story structure. (Source: Texas Coop Power)
A Local Attraction: The Little Skyscraper
The city gave the structure to the Wichita County Heritage Society in 1986, which tried to preserve it. But eventually, it became orphaned once more, and there was talk of tearing it down before the city hired the architectural firm of Bundy, Young, Sims & Potter to stabilize the distressed building.
Dick Bundy and his associates were so enthralled by the historic location that, in 2000, they formed a partnership with Marvin Groves Electric, bought the building, and spent $180,000 renovating it.
It is more than an attraction for a regular stream of interested tourists today. Glenda Tate, a local antique dealer, has leased the structure, which is now home to The Antique Wood. Merri, Bundy’s wife and a visual artist, has transformed the third story into her studio upstairs. (Source: Texas Coop Power)
Image from Blog.Bluebeam