The best Empire State Building timline page 

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1799: The City of New York sells a virgin tract (now bounded by Broadway and Sixth Avenue on the west, Madison Avenue on the east, 33rd Street on the south and 36th Street on the north) to John Thompson for $2,600. He farms it.

1825: Thompson sells the farm to Charles Lawton for $10,000

son of John Jacob Astor, buys the farm for $20,500 as an investment.

1859: John Jacob Astor, Jr. erects a mansion on the northwest corner of 33rd Street and Fifth Avenue.

1862: John Jacob, Jr.'s elder brother, William B., builds his mansion next door at the southwest corner of 34th Street and Fifth Avenue.

1893: William Waldorf Astor, son of John Jacob Astor, Jr., razes his inherited mansion and erects the Waldorf Hotel on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 33rd Street.

1897: Mrs. William Backhouse Astor, aunt of John Jacob, Jr., allows her mansion at 34th Street and Fifth Avenue to be razed and the Astoria Hotel is erected on the site. The new complex is known as the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.

1928: The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel is sold to Bethlehem Engineering Corporation for an estimated $20 million. 1929: John Jakob Raskob (creator of General Motors), Coleman du Pont, Pierre S. du Pont (president of E.I. Du Pont de Nemours), Louis G. Kaufman and Ellis P. Earl, form Empire State, Inc. and name Alfred E. Smith, former Governor of New York and Presidential Candidate, to head the corporation.

1931: On May 1st, President Hoover presses a button in Washington, D.C. officially opening and turning on the Empire State Building's lights.

1951: In 1951, the Building is sold by the John J. Raskob estate for $34 million to a group headed by Roger I. Stevens. At the same time, Prudential Insurance Company of America buys the Building for $17 million and enters into a long-term ground lease with the owners. In 1954, a Chicago group headed by Col. Henry J. Crown buys the Building for $51.5 million


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