Old Equitable Building


The Old Equitable Building was an 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 one of the first buildings in Manhattan with passenger elevators.

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. In 1910, the building housed offices of Equitable Life Assurance Society, Mercantile Trust Co., Koumtze Bros., Mercantile Safe Deposit Co. and the Café Saverin.

The old Equitable Building was destroyed by fire on January 9, 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





NYC Skyscrapers




Equitable Building NY


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


Equitable Life Building


Equitable Building Ruins


American Surety Building


Old Mutual Life Building


Grand Hotel


Manhattan photographs


Broadway, east side. Wall Street to Liberty Street - 1899.


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


Historic Buildings



Old Equitable Building


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