19 More Beautiful Structures That Are Now Lost Forever

All good things end—architecture included. Yesterday, we showed you nine buildings lost to the sands of time. You—hundreds of you—responded with your own contributions to the list. Who knew there were so many mourned buildings?

We've rounded up some of the most intriguing comments you guys left on the original post. It turns out that there are many buildings long gone but not forgotten—check them out below.

Richfield Oil tower in Los Angeles, 1928-1969

[tonyschmo; Images: Martin Turnbull]

Philadelphia's Broad Street Station 1881-1953

[carbonrain; Images: Wikipedia]

Cincinnati's Old Main Library, 1874-1955

"Cincinnati nerd here. It's remarkable how little attention is paid to this building, even among the circles of the City's plentiful history and architecture nerds. Photographic documentation of the building is incredibly sparse, but it's a complete gem." [andyfortson; timateo81; Images: Moon to Moon]

Minneapolis Metropolitan Building, 1890-1961

"Once, in college, while procrastinating studying for some overly specific elective on an engineering topic I knew I'd never touch again, I came across a book that looked interesting.

This book first introduced me to the greatly lamented Metropolitan Building in Minneapolis, that managed to escape early rounds of building razing, but was bulldozed in 1961, after surviving so long. This building was, to date, the most beautiful and momentous construction in Minnesota." [bdsimmons2; Images: Wikipedia]

BrainForest adds that "it was also a very innovative building, with a full-height atrium and glass elevators, floors, and stairs, so offices got natural light from inside and out."

The Manufactures and Liberal Arts Building, 1893-1906

"No shout out to the liberal arts building from the Chicago world's fair? That building was quite the looker in my opinion." [CheesyJif; Images: Domu]

Omaha Post Office Building, 1898-1966

I always mourned that I never got to see the old Omaha Post Office building, torn down in 1966. [MrGlitch; Image: Omaha.com]

Atlantic City's Marlborough-Blenheim Hotel, 1906-1978

[lemonsmark and Nargus; Images: Wikipedia and Woodhaven Historic]

Reno's Mapes Hotel, 1947-2000

[Gary; Image: Scott Schrantz and Around Carson]

Rochester's Central Station, 1914-1978

"Rochester, NY lost many buildings during urban renewal - but our lost train station was pretty bad. Central Station in Rochester is rated as the 7th most beautiful train station in the US - but was demolished in the 60s (our temporary station has been in place ever since...yikes)." [Dan Howell; Image: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division]

Muncie Delaware County Courthouse, 1885-1966

"Mostly because it was replaced by this monstrosity." [dhbaldwin; Image: Davis County Courthouse]

Detroit's Old City Hall, 1871-1961

"I would nominate Old City Hall in Detroit for this list. Built in 1871, razed in 1961."[Newspapermann; Image: Historic Detroit]

Boston's Elevated El Train, 1900s-1987

"Not a building, but I was sad to see the elevate E line go in Boston." [fadecomic; Images: Boston Public Library and The Elevated]

The Portland Hotel, 1884-1951

"Demolished to make way for the cesspool known as Pioneer Courthouse Square." [Brandon Freel; Image: The Oregon History Project]

Frank Lloyd Wright's Auto Showroom, 1957-2012

"I find that interiors are often overlooked when it comes to preservation. Traditionally, we prioritize the facade regardless of what actually happens to the guts of the building—the programmatic space that, increasingly, gives a structure its identity or, at the very least, is typically in conversation with its exterior—(a point that's been flaring up in relation to the Folk Art Museum)." [Gary-X]

John Marshall High School, 1901-1960s

The John Marshall High School in Richmond VA was demolished in the 60s.When it was built in 1909 it was considered the nicest, grandest (and most expensive) high school in the South. [HiMyNameIsJayAgain; Image: Vintage Richmond]

Portland, Maine's Union Station, 1888-1961

"In Portland Maine we lost this beautiful train station which was replaced by a strip mall with a Dollar Tree. The new train station is in a ridiculous location that is impossible to walk to. WTF?" [HighStrungLoner]

"In the mid- to late-1800s, my city of Bangor, Maine, was the lumber capital of the world and a stopping point for Henry David Thoreau's travels. By the 1960s, some of its glory had faded and city planners enacted a policy of Urban Renewal. It was terrible, and we lost a ton of historic buildings, including Union Station, a famous train station with a prominent clock tower. Residents of the city still rue this period to this day." [mchabe; Image: Wikipedia and Renaissance Restorations]

The Barcelona Pavilion, 1929-1930

[CleverUsername; Image: Jim on Flickr]

The Masonic Temple Building, 1892-1939

"Built in 1892 by Burnham and Root, this 22-story "skyscraper" was long the tallest building in the city." [Werunbushwick; Images: Wikipedia and Appstate]

9 of the Most Beautiful Buildings We Ever Tore Down

The years between 1880 and 1920 changed American cities completely: From elevators to air conditioning to electricity, the monumental buildings born during this period seemed like living things, humming with life. But as quickly as they rose, many of them were torn down—victims of the same progress that pushed them up.

"After World War II," NPR once put it, "such buildings fell like leaves in autumn to make space for a new way of life." These buildings—many of which represented first-of-their-kind technical achievements just years before—were woefully outdated for the post-War city, where telephones and open plan offices reigned. They had to go—and in an era before historic preservation even had a proper name, there were very few people fighting for them.


A recent New York Times article on demolition in the city—and all cities—called them "belles of the wrecking ball." We dug through the internet, from Skyscraper City to Flavorwire's own, to collection just a few below. But are there other stories of untimely architectural demise floating around out there? Let us know in the comments.

The Singer Building in New York

We have the Burj Khalifa, but in 1908, the world had the 612-foot-high Singer Building—built by the eponymous sewing machine conglomerate.

The tallest building in the world for a time, the downtown landmark was a victim of the great corporate migration towards midtown—in 1968, when modern tenants found themselves ill-served by its awkward, antiquated floor plan, it became the tallest building to ever be dismantled in NYC.

Garrick Theater in Chicago

Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan had a brilliant, tumultuous relationship—and a portfolio of work that made Chicago a landmark of early modern architecture. And the Garrick Theater—aka the Schiller Building—was the high-tech cherry on the top: The massive theater opened in 1892, a year before Chicago hosted the World's Fair.


But by the 1950s, a long decline had landed it on the list for razing. A young preservationist and photographer, Richard Nickel, documented its destruction and salvaged pieces of its facade and interior after the wrecking ball had swung in 1960 (one piece even fronts Second City's comedy theater).

Images: The Richard Nickel Committee and Archive/Dwell.

Today, Nickel is hailed as a founding hero of historic preservation—and one of the only sources of documentation of Adler & Sullivan's demolished masterpieces. Tragically, he was killed while salvaging artifacts from another razed Sullivan building.

Birmingham Terminal Station in Birmingham, Alabama

Built at the end of the Victorian era, this railway station was like a temple to the train: Modeled after Istanbul's Hagia Sophia, its Byzantine spires raised eyebrows when it opened in 1909. Another victim of the decline of the railways, local advocates attempted to save it—but it was demolished in 1969.

Astor House in New York

Maybe it wasn't particularly beautiful, but the Astor House was one of those buildings that practically meant New York to the rest of the country: Built by the self-made millionaire John Jacob Astor and the esteemed architect Isaiah Rogers, it opened in 1836 boasting everything from gas lighting—then a rarity—to indoor plumbing.

But like so many other great building of New York, only 70-odd years later, it had become relatives. Everything in the hotel was sold off, and the building was demolished.

Images via DaytonInManhattan.

But not before the New York Tribune printed a poetic farewell between the House and its neighbor, St. Paul's Cathedral:

Image via The Bowery Boys.

The Wabash Terminal in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Described as "the most beautiful railroad building west of New York," by the The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and "the greatest Beaux-Arts skyscraper in the city" by others, the grand Wabash terminal only lasted from 1904 until 1954—it was partially destroyed after two fires made it virtually unusable.

Penn Station in New York

Penn Station, of course, is the big one: The demolition that united concerned citizens and architects to create the movement that we, today, know as historic preservation.

Unfortunately, New Yorkers couldn't stop the wrecking ball from coming down on the original station, a grand Beaux-Arts structure designed by McKim, Mead, and White in 1910, was torn down in 1963.

US Post Office in Boston

Built in 1885, the U.S. Post Office and Subtreasury was built by Alfred B. Mullett, a hero of the ornate Second Empire style, and was criticized by many Bostonians as overwrought. Above, Historic New England shows us what it looked like draped in mourning after President Grant's death, in 1885. But by 1912, its grandeur had diminished. It was razed in 1929:

Demolition Images: Boston Public Library on Flickr.

Chicago Federal Building in Chicago

Opened in 1905, this hulking Chicago building housed everything from Federal courts to the post office. But by 1965, it had lingered long past its useful life—and it, too, was razed.

City Hall Post Office in New York

Mullett's second contribution to this list is the City Hall Post Office, built in 1905 near City Hall in lower Manhattan. It, too, was widely hated by the public (some called it Mullett's Monstrosity), partially due to a construction accident that killed three workers earlier on. It did claim some cool bells and whistles though, like a pneumatic mail delivery system. Alas, nothing could repair its reputation with the public, and it was razed in 1939.

Lead image: The train shed of Chicago's Dearborn Station being torn down.

Is there a building in your city or town that met an untimely end? Drop it in the comments below!