Old Equitable Building


The Old Equitable Building was a pioneering early skyscraper in New York, built between 1868 and 1870. Located at 120 Broadway, between Cedar Street and Pine Street, in the Financial District of Manhattan.

The architects were Edward Kendall and Arthur Gilman. It was built with seven above-ground stories and two basement levels, a huge granite edifice, covering entire block, at a height of 130 feet.  It was the first building in Manhattan with passenger elevators and it is considered to be the first skyscraper in New York.

The Equitable Life Assurance Society was organized in 1859. It was then a small company, but it grew immensely after the Civil War to become the largest life insurance company in the world, in 1886.

The old Equitable Building was destroyed by fire in 1912. The company decided to erect a new building on the same site, the 40-story Equitable Building, completed in 1915, now a landmark.


Equitable Life Building


Antique photos of NYC





Skyscrapers NYC




Equitable Building NY


Below, the Equitable Building site in Lower Manhattan, in an illustration published in 1883 by Currier & Ives.


This is not it. The Equitable Building of Boston, 67 Milk Street, completed in 1875 (photograph in the 1870s/Boston Public Library), is frequently confused with the one in New York.


The Equitable Building, home to the Equitable Life Assurance Society. The Old Mutual Life Building can be seen in the distance. Image published in the King's Handbook of New York, in 1893.




Lower Manhattan


Old Mutual Life Building


Manhattan photographs


The Equitable Building in 1899. Color version of the image below by C. Graham / American Lithographic Co. Source: Museum of the City of New York.


Equitable Building


Equitable Building


Tribune building


Antique photographs



Old Equitable Building


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