Western Union Telegraph Building

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Western Union Building
Western Union Telegraph Building.jpg
General information
Type Office
Location 195 Broadway
Completed 1875
Roof 230 feet
Technical details
Floor count 10
Design and construction
Architect George B. Post

The Western Union Building in New York City was built by George B. Post, and was completed in 1875.[1] This building was located at 195 Broadway, and served as a headquarters for the Western Union telegraph company from 1875 until its destruction in 1914. It was 230 feet high, and had ten floors,[2] where 100 telegraph operators worked 24 hours a day.

The building was topped by a clock tower, and some claim that this building was the first skyscraper in New York.[3]

Beginning in 1877, a ball was dropped from the top of the building at exactly noon, triggered by a telegraph from the National Observatory in Washington, D.C. This system, invented by George May Phelps, was later used as the initial reference for Standard railway time in 1883, and would stay in use until 1912.[4]

The building was razed in 1914 to make way for the new, taller, AT&T Headquarters at 195 Broadway.


  1. ^ http://www.picturehistory.com/product/id/1843. Picture History -- Western Union Building.
  2. ^ http://www.westernunionalumni.com/wuhq.htm. Western Union Headquarters Buildings History.
  3. ^ http://www.jstor.org/pss/987622. New York and the problem of the first skyscraper.
  4. ^ http://www.telegraph-history.org/george-m-phelps/. George M. Phelps.

Coordinates: 40°42′39″N 74°00′34″W / 40.71084°N 74.00951°W / 40.71084; -74.00951