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12 Random Things You Might Not Know About The Flatiron Building

Did you know they forgot to include a women's bathroom in the initial design?

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1. It was built in 1902 and designed by Chicago architect Daniel Burnham, whose work includes Union Station in Chicago, as well as Union Station in Washington D.C..

Left: Union Station (Chicago) / Right: Union Station (Washington D.C.)

2. The building initially received widespread skepticism when construction began with many residents believing that the triangle shape combined with the height would cause the building to fall down, giving it the nickname "Burnham's Folly."

3. At the time of completion, it became one of the tallest skyscrapers in the city, standing at 22 stories.

Hulton Archive / Getty Images

4. It was originally called the Fuller Building, and "was intended to serve as offices for the George A. Fuller Company, a major Chicago contracting firm," according to History.com

Hulton Archive / Getty Images

5. Local residents used to refer to the triangular lot bounded by Broadway, and Fifth Avenue, and 22nd and 23rd Street as the "Flat Iron" (with its shape resembling that of a household clothes iron). When the building was constructed, the nickname stuck.

6. Its unique design was made possible by a sturdy steel skeleton — a newer construction technique at the time — allowing for thin, graceful walls and a quicker build using pre-cut frames.

7. Around the steel skeleton is a limestone base, which changes to terra-cotta as the floors go up, featuring French and Italian Renaissance influences.

8. Due to an oversight in the original design, there were no bathrooms for ladies when the building first opened, so the men's and women's bathrooms are now on alternating floors.

9. The pointed end of the building is only 6.5 feet wide and opens up to an acute angle of roughly 25 degrees.

10. On the ground floor of the triangular front is a free window-like exhibition, known as the Sprint Flatiron Prow Artspace.

Lori Zimmer / Via art-nerd.com

11. In 1966, the Flatiron Building was named a NYC landmark and was designated as a national historic landmark in 1989.

12. In 2009, the Sorgente Group, an Italian real estate investment firm, bought a majority stake in the building (52%) with possible plans to turn the office building into a luxury hotel.

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