At the turn of the 20th Century, New York's Woolworth Building and Chicago's Monadnock Building set a trend that transformed the skylines of US cities.
New construction methods - and the egos of America's top businessmen - meant that buildings could be higher than ever before.
Through this collection of archive photographs, Professor David Reynolds, presenter of Radio 4's landmark series America, Empire of Liberty looks at the birth of the skyscraper.
Click 'show captions' for photograph information.
Music: Constructions, composed by John Devereaux / Klassicle Rag, composed by Keith Nicholls / An American Story, composed by Ron Goodwin. Photographs courtesy Getty Images and Dale Winling.
Slideshow by Paul Kerley. Publication date 4 February 2009
Professor David Reynolds presents America, Empire of Liberty- a landmark series on the history of the United States. This slideshow features extracts from the episode The Cities: America's Pride and Shame, which broadcasts on Wednesday 4 February at 1545 GMT on BBC Radio 4.
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