Singer Building, NYC (destroyed 1968)
Before countries like China and the United Arab Emirates joined in on our human desire to reach for the sky, New York dominated the competition in terms of tallest skyscrapers. While many of these still exist today, though dwarfed by glass modern marvels, some of them were also torn down long before we could appreciate the icons they might have become.
One example is the Singer Building or Singer Tower, which was built in Manhattan’s Financial District in 1908. Commissioned by the head of the Singer Sewing Company, the structure, famous for its 47-story tower, was the tallest building in the world until the following year.
Due to its small interiors, however, the Singer Building later became uneconomical, the the city acquired the tower and its neighboring property for demolition in 1964. Because the building did not have an interested buyer, which could have acquired it a status as a protected landmark, it was demolished in 1968.
Jonah’s Tomb, Iraq (destroyed 2014)
The supposed resting place of the prophet Jonah, as well as a tooth from the whale that swallowed him, this holy site in Mosul, Iraq was important throughout the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faiths.
However, the tomb, located inside a Sunni mosque, was destroyed by Daesh in 2014 as part of the group’s growing movement against religious iconoclasm.
City Hall Post Office and Courthouse, NYC (destroyed 1938)
Dubbed “Mullet’s Monstrosity” after architect A. B. Mullet, this stunning building stood in downtown Manhattan for 60 years (1878-1938) despite never gaining the love of the public. The five-story building was famous for its mansard roof and Beaux-Arts style, but its unpopularity abounded due to its obstruction of what became City Hall Park, ineffective post office, and governmental purpose.
It was razed in order to beautify the city for the 1939 World’s Fair.