Audio slideshow: America's early skyscrapers

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.

Javascript and Flash plug-in required

Either the Flash plugin was not detected on your computer or the JavaScript features of your brower have been disabled.

To enable Javascript on your browser we recommend that you contact your computer support line.

Click here to download the Flash plugin from the Macromedia website

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.

You can also listen to the series on the programme website, or the BBC iPlayer.

David Reynolds is Professor of International History at the University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of Christ's College. His accompanying book 'America, Empire of Liberty' is available now.

More audio slideshows

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2020 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific