The Most Impressive Commercial Building in Every State
Architecture changes over time and often reveals what is important to people. Commercial buildings may reflect a corporation’s values or even its products. Motivations behind impressive or “iconic” architecture may vary, from a desire to have the biggest, the best or the most expensive, or simply something different.
While attributes like the tallest, oldest or most expensive are easy to quantify, the most impressive in every state (like a favorite food or tourist attraction) is sometimes up for debate. These 51 business buildings all have unique features and sometimes fascinating backstories. Not all of these are universally loved; in fact, some are hated by the locals and have even been placed on “ugliest buildings” lists. But each has special qualities that make it different from the surrounding architecture. While some buildings are headquarters and occupied by a single company, most have multiple tenants and multiple uses.
Alabama: RSA Battle House Tower
Year built: 2006
Height: 745 feet
Square footage: 466,684
Architect: Thompson, Ventulett, Stainback & Associates, Inc.
Notable tenants: International Shipholding Corp.
At 745 feet tall, the Battle House Tower is not only the tallest building in Alabama, but also the tallest anywhere on the Gulf Coast of the United States outside of Houston. It’s named for the adjacent Battle House Hotel, which was renovated and restored before being incorporated into the new skyscraper.
In addition to the hotel levels, the 35-story postmodern building has three lobby floors and 25 floors of office space. The spire was installed via helicopter and the light from its crown can be seen 30 miles away on Mobile Bay. Owned by Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA), the tower is more than 96 percent occupied.
Alaska: JL Tower
Year built: 2008
Square footage: 300,000
Architect: RIM Architects
Notable tenant: AE Solutions
The 14-story postmodern building is the fourth tallest in the state and provides 360-degree views of the city. Topped with a grill system, it was designed with upward-pointing lights, effectively adding another four stories. The first privately-owned LEED-certified building in the state, builders used recycled materials as much as possible and recycled excess materials; any wood used was certified to not come from old-growth forest.
Arizona: Luhrs City Center
Year built: 1929
Height: 185 feet
Square footage: 157,735
Architect: Trost & Trost
Notable tenant: High Tide, a global startup commercialization program
The 10-story Luhrs Building and the adjacent Luhrs Tower, both built by George Luhrs Jr., were the city’s first two skyscrapers. The Tower remained the tallest building in the Southwest for decades. The 14-story building has symmetrical setbacks at both the 8th and 11th floors. The tower is now part of Luhrs City Center which also includes the Luhrs Building, the city’s first skyscraper.
This shorter Spanish Colonial-influenced Art Deco building may look familiar to Hitchcock aficionados; it was the backdrop of a scene from the movie “Psycho.” The complex, which has been restored to include modern amenities, is a National Historic Landmark and on the Phoenix Historic Property Register.
Arkansas: Simmons Tower
City: Little Rock
Year built: 1986
Height: 546 feet
Square footage: 624,996
Architect: Harwood K. Smith & Partners.
Notable tenant: Simmons Bank
The tallest building in the state, it was originally called the Capitol Tower. In 1991, TCBY moved into the building and the name was changed to the TCBY Tower. Metropolitan Bank moved in and purchased naming rights in 2004. Metropolitan added exterior lighting to illuminate the sides of the tower as well as LED lights that change color to commemorate holidays. When Simmons Bank purchased the building in 2014, the name followed suit.
California: Hallidie Building
City: San Francisco
Year built: 1918
Height: 130 feet
Square footage: 92,000
Architect: Willis Polk & Company
Notable tenant: San Francisco chapter of American Institute of Architects
When it was built, this seven-story glassed-walled building was one-of-a-kind. Though there were a couple in Europe, all-glass façade commercial buildings were not yet seen in the U.S. The lacy, gilded iron ornamentation was evident in street lamps from the era, but had not previously been part of the structure to hold what seemed to be floating glass walls.
While the prominent use of glass foretold upcoming architecture styles, Gothic flourishes and period ornamentation would have matched other buildings of the time. Even the fire escapes on the building are ornate. The building underwent a historic restoration in 2013 and is on the list of San Francisco landmarks.
Colorado: Daniels & Fisher Tower
Year built: 1910
Height: 330 feet
Square footage: 400.000
Architect: Frederick G. Sterner
Notable tenant: Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret
This 20-story clock tower was once part of the Daniel & Fisher department store. Inspired by St. Mark’s Bell Tower at the Piazza San Marco in Venice, Italy, it has 16-foot faces on all four sides and a 2 ½ ton bell in the top two stories. At the time it was built, it was the tallest between the Mississippi River and California and remained the tallest structure in the city for more than forty years.
The store was demolished around 1971 and in 1981 the tower was renovated to house residential and office tenants. A $5 million restoration in 2006 provided a complete overhaul to the building and its Seth Thomas clock. Tours take visitors to the 20th-floor observation deck and behind the clock faces. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1969.
Connecticut: Travelers Tower
Year built: 1919
Height: 527 feet
Square footage: 230,000
Architect: Donn Barber
Notable tenant: Travelers Insurance Company
The Renaissance Revival-style building was built as the headquarters for the Travelers Property Casualty Corporation (now part of The Travelers Companies). In 1919, the tower was the tallest building in New England and the seventh tallest building in the world.
Though it is 24 stories tall, it is sometimes considered to have 34 floors as it is an extension of two other buildings; it begins on the tenth floor. Peregrine falcons have taken up residence at the top of the building and can be observed via web cameras.
Delaware: Hercules Building
Year built: 1983
Height: 200 feet
Square footage: 500,000
Architect: Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates
Notable tenant: Wilmington Stock Exchange
Named for its original tenant, a now-defunct DuPont spinoff company called Hercules Inc., when it opened, the postmodern building was called “the building of the future.” Innovative features included a new concept in office space — cubicles, and an atrium that not only housed 5,000 plants, but also a 100-foot waterfall.
Florida: Bacardi Complex
Year built: 1963
Height: 91 feet
Square footage: 84,925
Architect: Enrique Gutierrez
Notable tenant: Young Arts
From the front, The Bacardi Tower looks like any other glass-clad office building, but the sides of the building are covered with 28,000 handmade tiles designed by the Brazilian artist Francisco Brennand. An annex added in 1973 (known as the jewel box building, pictured) features a mosaic version of a painting by German artist Johannes M. Dietz (said to depict the process by which sugar becomes rum) made of one-inch thick pieces of hammered glass. The tallest building in the city for 12 years, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2018.
Georgia: The Flatiron Building
Year built: 1897
Height: 158 feet
Square footage: 40,000
Architect: Bradford Lee Gilbert
Notable tenants: The Microsoft Innovation Center and Women’s Entrepreneurship Institute
Originally called the English-American Building for the banking company that built it, today it is known as the Flatiron Building due to its wedge shape. The city’s second skyscraper and the tallest at the time it was constructed, it is the oldest still standing in the city. The 11-story building is on the National Register of Historic Places and became a World Heritage Site in 1976.
Hawaii: First Hawaiian Center
Year built: 1996
Height: 429 feet
Square footage: 645,834
Architect: Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates
Notable tenant: First Hawaiian Bank
The First Hawaiian Center is the world headquarters of the oldest bank in the state. Controversy surrounding potential effects of skyscrapers on the landscape influenced the building’s design, which is made up of two distinct architectural forms. The makai (ocean facing) side has horizontal louvered windows and the maurka (mountain facing) side has vertically proportioned windows. In addition to bank offices, a full three floors of the 30-story building are dedicated to the Honolulu Museum of Art Spalding House where local Hawaiian artwork is displayed.
Idaho: Zions Bank Building
Year built: 2014
Height: 327 feet
Square footage: 400,000
Architect: Babcock Design Group
Notable tenant: Zions Bank
Fourteen years after fire destroyed the Eastman Building, construction began on the Zions Bank Building (also known as the Phoenix Building because of its history). The 18-story building doesn’t clearly fit any architectural style, but instead is a combination of Art Deco, contemporary and postmodern. The bottom five floors match the surrounding architecture before switching over to glass, stone and steel.
The corner of the building facing 8th and Main, however, (the most heavily trafficked side) is made entirely of glass, with its lines broken only by steel awnings that separate it into horizontal blocks. Atop the skyscraper sits a 45-foot spire that makes it three feet taller than the previous tallest building, the US Bank Building across the street. The grand opening of the tallest building in Idaho was celebrated with multiple activities, including a free concert by the Goo Goo Dolls.
Illinois: The Willis Tower
Year built: 1974
Height: 1451 feet
Square footage: 4,500,000
Architect: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
Notable tenants: Willis Group, United Airlines
Originally the Sears Tower, this skyscraper was the tallest building in the world for almost 25 years and remained the tallest in the Western Hemisphere for 41, until One World Trade Center was built in 2014. It is still the tallest building in Chicago. Sears Roebuck & Co. moved out of the tower in 1995.
More than a million visitors crowd its observation deck each year, making it one of the most popular tourist spots in Chicago. On a clear day, you can see 40 to 50 miles away from the Skydeck, which means you can view four states at once: Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan.
Indiana: Salesforce Tower
Year built: 1990
Height: 811 feet
Square footage: 714,000
Architect: The Stubbins Associates
Notable tenant: Salesforce
Originally the American Fletcher Tower, the Salesforce Tower is the tallest building in the state. Though it has two spires, one is merely decorative (the other is a transmission antenna). The tower’s first 49 floors are dedicated to retail and office space while the two floors above the peak were designed from the start to house communications relay equipment. The building changed names as banks merged and has been called Salesforce Tower since 2016 when the company moved in.
Iowa: 801 Grand
City: Des Moines
Year built: 1991
Height: 630 feet
Square footage: 970,000
Architect: Hellmuth Obata & Kassabaum
Notable tenant: Principal Financial Group
801 Grand, the address of the property, is also known as the Principal Building, for the financial group that owns and occupies most of it. The tallest building in the state, its roof is covered with copper sheeting which was hoped would form a green verdigris as it aged, similar to that of the Statue of Liberty. Unfortunately for the designer, the salt content of the air in Des Moines is low, so the oxidation process didn’t occur. Instead, the copper turned a dark brown.
The building is connected to the downtown Des Moines skywalk system and has been recognized as one of the 50 Most Significant Iowa Buildings of the 20th Century by the Iowa chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
Kansas: Epic Center
Year built: 1987
Height: 385 feet
Square footage: 329,690
Architect: Platt, Adams, Braht, Bradley & Associates
Notable tenant: Gilliland & Hayes, PA
The original plan called for two towers to be built, but there wasn’t enough demand for space to warrant building both. The roof is slanted by design to resemble a sail or kite, acknowledging the fact that Wichita is one of the windiest major cities in the county. The building’s tenants are primarily lawyers, accountants and federal workers.
Kentucky: The Kaden Tower
Year built: 1966
Height: 197 feet
Square footage: 115,530
Architect: William Wesley Peters
Notable tenant: Ruth’s Chris Steak House
Though sometimes attributed to Frank Lloyd Wright, this building was designed by his protégé and son-in-law, William Wesley Peters. (Peters took over as head of Taliesin Associates when Wright died in 1959.) It is similar in style to the H.C. Price Company Tower in Oklahoma, which Peters and Wright worked on together.
Originally built as the Lincoln Tower (for Lincoln Income Life Insurance Company) the building’s design combines ideas from three of Wright’s projects, only one of which was ever built. Grillwork on the exterior of the windows works to shade and reduce heat while preserving the view from inside. At night, interior lights illuminate the grillwork, causing the building to glow like a lantern. In the early ‘80s, this effect was amplified by using transparent color gels on the windows that changed according to season. Like many unusual buildings, public reaction was mixed. This thought is memorialized by a plaque on the building that quotes an early occupant as saying it was “daring…controversial…a jewel.”
Louisiana: Hibernia Bank Building
City: New Orleans
Year built: 1921
Height: 355 feet
Square footage: 41,500 (office and retail space)
Architect: Favrot and Livaudais
Notable tenant: HRI Properties
This Beaux Arts-style building was once the tallest in New Orleans. Sitting atop its 23 stories is its most recognizable feature: a cupola designed to mimic a Greek temple.
The original light in the cupola (said to equal the light given by 2,000 candles) served as a navigational beacon for ships traveling the Mississippi River. Today the tower is lit up in colored lights for holidays — red and green at Christmas, and purple, gold and green for Mardi Gras. Commercial offices occupy the first through third floors, and there are luxury apartments above.
Maine: Time & Temperature Building
Year built: 1924
Height: 174 feet
Square footage: 157,492
Architect: Herbert W. Rhodes
Notable tenant: Law Offices of Joe Bornstein
One of the tallest buildings it the city, it can be seen from as far away as Peaks Island, across the harbor. Originally called the Chapman Building, it once was home to the state’s first indoor shopping center.
In 1964, two floors were added, as was the flashing time and temperature sign on the roof. Since Casco Bank & Trust was the main tenant at the time, flashing signs reading “CASCO” and “BANK” also sat atop the building. This addition did not blend well with the rest of the building, but a major renovation in 1980 fixed the problem. In addition to the current time and temperature, the sign has also been used to remind residents to not park on the street during a snowstorm.
Each December, the building is lit blue which climbs a floor as money is raised for the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
Maryland: Bank of America Building
Year built: 1929
Height: 509 feet
Square footage: 350,000
Architect: Taylor and Fisher
Notable tenant: Gables Residential
Also known as 10 Light Street and formerly the Baltimore Trust Company Building, this was the tallest office building south of New York City when it was built and the tallest in the state until 1973. It remains the second tallest building in the city. The Art Deco building displays carved Romanesque animal and human images on its exterior and has a roof of copper and gold.
Built just before the Great Depression, the building was only occupied for a year before the Baltimore Trust Company went bankrupt in 1933. It was used by the New Deal’s Public Works Administration and underwent multiple names changes as tenants came and went. Significant portions of the building were restored in 1997. The building was converted to residential space and reopened in 2015 as 10 Light.
Massachusetts: John Hancock Tower
Year built: 1976
Height: 790 feet
Square footage: 2,799,973
Architect: Henry N. Cobb
Notable tenant: Bain Capital
Named for its original tenant, John Hancock Insurance, the 62-story building has been the tallest building in New England since it was built. Also known as The Hancock, large glass panes make up the exterior walls and in a modern twist, the floor plan is in the shape of a parallelogram.
Significant issues arose and were addressed early in the construction process. After several of the original blue reflective glass panels fell to the ground in windy conditions, all were replaced by single-paned, heat-treated panels. In addition, the building’s sway caused motion sickness to those on upper floors, necessitating costly engineering changes to be made. In 2015, the building’s name changed to 200 Clarendon. Godzilla fans may recognize the building which appears in “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.”
Michigan: The Guardian Building
Year built: 1929
Height: 496 feet
Square footage: 643,000
Architect: Wirt C. Rowland
Notable tenant: The Detroit Land Bank Authority
Detroit has no shortage of elegant skyscrapers, many of which date back to the 1920s. This Art Deco building was built by the Union Trust Company. The main building stands 36 stories high and is topped with two asymmetric spires; one extends four stories higher than the other. It has been referred to as the “Cathedral of France” due to its resemblance to a cathedral and includes Native American themes both in and outside the building.
The building sits on a six-story granite and stone base, and a blend of brickwork, tile, limestone and terra cotta provides a unique appearance to the exterior. Upon its completion, it was the world’s tallest masonry structure. The building’s opening marked the first use of automated elevator technology, eliminating the need for a dedicated operator. The building served as a command center during World War II and in 1989 it was declared a National Historic Landmark.
Minnesota: Foshay Tower
Year built: 1929
Height: 607 feet
Square footage: 271,326
Architect: Magney & Tusler Inc.
Notable tenant: Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide
The 32-story Art Deco style building was the first skyscraper west of the Mississippi and the first in the city built higher than City Hall. It held the tallest building title until 1972 when the IDS Center was built. Envisioned by Wilbur Foshay, a utility company magnate, it was designed to mimic Washington D.C.’s Washington Monument, with each floor slightly smaller than the one that sits below. Slightly set back from the street, a two-story structure surrounds it on two sides. On the other two sides, the 17-story TCF Tower obscures the view from the first seven floors of the Foshay. On the Marquette Avenue side, the name, "Foshay," can be seen four times in the exterior concrete (at the top and in three places at street level).
Foshay ensured the dedication ceremony would be memorable. Each guest was given a gold pocket watch and John Philip Sousa was on hand to conduct a new march he wrote for the occasion. Six weeks later, the Great Depression stripped Foshay of his riches and his check to Sousa bounced. In retribution, the march was not permitted to be played again until investors repaid Foshay’s debt to Sousa’s estate in 1988.
The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. In 2008 the Foshay was converted to the W Hotel. The 30th-floor observation deck was retained and the former Foshay boardroom became the Prohibition Sky Bar.
Mississippi: Regions Plaza
Year built: 1975
Height: 318 feet
Square footage: 335000
Architect: Thomas E. Stanley
Notable tenant: Foreman Watkins
This 22-story glass and stone building is the tallest in the city as well as the tallest on the I-20 corridor between Birmingham and Shreveport. It has a desirable downtown location and a 360-degree view of the city at the top which is occupied by the Foreman Watkins law firm. Baptist Regional Health Systems of Mississippi also has a considerable presence here.
Missouri: One Kansas City Place
City: Kansas City
Year built: 1988
Height: 623 feet
Square footage: 1,300,000
Architect: Patty Berkebile Nelson & Immenschuh
Notable tenant: Ernst & Young
One Kansas City Place was intended to be part of a larger real estate development project that planned to include townhomes, office buildings and residential/hotel towers. Though two taller towers were part of the original design, the others were never constructed, so One Kansas City Place remains the tallest building in Missouri. At night, the top of the tower is lit up with red, white, and blue lights that change for holidays and important sporting events.
Montana: First State Bank of Chester
Year built: 1909
Height: Two stories
Architect: R.T. Frost
Notable tenant: Private
The Neo-Classical building opened its doors just months before the city of Chester incorporated. The red brick building was the most extravagant and finest in town. Like others of its time, the bank followed the fortunes of the farmers. Following several years of drought, the bank closed in 1920. It housed the city’s hospital from the 1920s through 1940. A second-story turret was removed in the 1950s, but its original oak doors, woodwork, pressed metal ceilings and the bank vault remain. Over the years, it has been home to various businesses and stores as well as a rooming house on the second floor. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.
Nebraska: First National Bank Tower
Year built: 2002
Height: 634 feet
Square footage: 729,998
Architect: Leo A. Daly Architects
Notable tenant: First National Bank of Nebraska
Designed to be the tallest building in the state, it measures only one story and four feet taller than 801 Grand, the tallest building in Des Moines, Iowa. Three feet taller than the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, it’s the tallest building between Denver and Minneapolis.
Completed on time and under budget, it is the site of the region’s Trek up the Tower, a stair climb race to the top that raises money for The Wellness Council of the Midlands. The top of the tower lights up white at night and green at Christmastime. The view from the top includes the desert dome of the Henry Doorly Zoo and the Gretna Outlet Water Tower, almost 24 miles away.
Nevada: Two Summerlin Office Building
Year built: 2018
Height: Six stories
Square footage: 153,000
Architect: Ed Vance & Associates Architects
Notable tenant: WeWork
This building features custom-molded precast concrete exterior skin that fits in with surrounding buildings and meets city design requirements. It is composed of 223 panels supported by a steel frame structure. The Howard Hughes Corporation drove innovation by requesting proposals through entries in a design competition between local and national architectural firms. The building is LEED Silver certified and received the 2019 Spotlight Honor Award in the Spec Office Building category.
New Hampshire: Service Credit Union Headquarters
Year built: 2012
Height: Four stories
Square footage: 100,000
Architect: GUND Partnership
Notable tenant: Service Credit Union
The world headquarters for Service Credit Union, the curved building stands out on the approach to Portsmouth. The four-story building is LEED Gold-certified and surrounds a central sky-lit atrium. With the building located only a mile and a half from Pease Air Force Base, the path of planes influenced both the geometry and design of the building.
New Jersey: Bell Works
Year built: 1962
Height: 73 feet
Square footage: 2,000,000
Architect: Eero Saarinen
Notable tenant: iCIMS
The former Bell Labs, the building was rescued by Ralph Zucker who purchased and renovated the decaying building in 2013. The site of multiple Nobel Prize-winning discoveries and numerous communication innovations, the building once housed over 6,000 Bell Labs employees. After the breakup of “Ma Bell” in the 1980s, the company shrunk dramatically. No longer needing the space, the 2 million-square-foot building went on the market in 2005.
Referred to as "the biggest mirror ever" due to its steel and mirrored glass façade, the building had fallen into disrepair and was fully renovated, welcoming new tenants in 2016. Updates to the building include photovoltaic panels that generate a percentage of the building's energy and energy-efficient HVAC systems. In addition to office space, the building also has event space and the Holmdel Township Library and Learning Center. Future plans for the building include a hotel to be built on the roof.
New Mexico: Albuquerque Plaza
Year built: 1990
Height: 351 feet
Square footage: 357,000
Architect: Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum
Notable tenant: U.S. Eagle Federal Credit Union
Also known as U.S. Eagle Plaza, it is the tallest building in the state and is connected by a two-story promenade to the state’s second-tallest building, the Hyatt Regency Albuquerque Hotel tower. The first floor is retail, and the second includes banquet and conference rooms; both are part of the base shared with the Hyatt.
A bronze sculpture commissioned by the building developer depicts people engaging in everyday activities at the main entrance. A thermal energy storage system reduces the building’s impact on the electric grid. In 2002 it was awarded the Building Owners and Managers Association’s “Office Building of the Year” award.
New York: One World Trade Center
City: New York City
Year built: 2014
Height: 1776 feet
Square footage: 3,000,000
Architect: David M. Childs
Notable tenant: Conde Nast
While NYC is home to many iconic buildings, including the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building, One World Trade Center (also known as the Freedom Tower) is a tribute to the American spirit. Built on the site of the Twin Towers destroyed in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the building is the tallest in the U.S. and the sixth tallest in the world. The building’s height references the signing of the country’s Declaration of Independence.
The base of the tower is covered with more than 2,000 pieces of prismatic glass and the edges form eight isosceles triangles that form an octagon at the center. An enclosed observation deck sits 1,250 feet above street level. At night, light from the 408-foot spire can be seen miles away.
North Carolina: The Bank of America Corporate Center
Year built: 1992
Height: 871 feet
Square footage: 1,100,000
Architect: César Pelli
Notable tenant: Bank of America
The tallest building in North Carolina, this 60-story building is among the tallest on the East Coast and can be seen from up to 35 miles away. Preparing for construction required the demolition of an entire city block. The building sits on a 30-foot granite base; its façade is rosy granite and glass. The tower tapers as it gets higher with setbacks at the 13th, 44th and 53rd floors at the corners and the 47th, 56th and 60th on the face sides.
The crown-shaped spire is made of glass and is illuminated by floodlights which change color to suit the occasion. (It was lit blue to celebrate the NFL’s Carolina Panthers NFC Championship in 2004.) In 1989, Hurricane Hugo caused some damage to the site and construction delays. Though the FAA had concerns that the tower’s height could jeopardize flights in and out of Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, slight changes in air-traffic procedures resolved the issue.
North Dakota: Black Building
Year built: 1930
Height: 108 feet
Square footage: 125,000
Architect: Lang, Raugland, and Lewis
Notable tenant: Ankers Law Office
The eight-story Art Moderne style building was the tallest in the district when it was built and the tallest in the state for about five years. It stood out from the surrounding brick buildings due to its white Indiana limestone façade. Ads for the new building boasted of its electrical, lighting and ventilation systems as well as its elevator service.
Erected and named for Norman B. Black, a prominent businessman and publisher of North Dakota newspapers, from the start, the top floor was designed for WDAY radio. As a condition of the lease, the radio station regularly proclaimed “This is WDAY in the Black Building, Fargo.” Station programming included a regular variety show; this is where singer Peggy Lee got her start.
This year the building is undergoing a major renovation including a new 30-foot rooftop sign based on the original one from the 1930s. The building was influential in obtaining National Register of Historic Places designation for the Downtown Fargo District and has also been recognized on the Register on its own merit.
Ohio: Longaberger Basket Building
Year built: 1997
Height: Seven stories
Square footage: 180,000
Architect: Longaberger Company
Notable tenant: Currently for sale/lease
The only basket building in the world, the seven-story former headquarters of the Longaberger Basket Company was modeled after the company’s medium market basket, the owner’s favorite. (It is 160 times as large as that basket.) The 150-ton handles seen rising above the building are not merely decorative, but are specially designed with a heating element to keep ice from forming.
While currently unoccupied, the present owner is working to have it placed on the National Register of Historic Places. As of the time of this writing, it is available for sale or lease.
Oklahoma: Price Tower
Year built: 1956
Height: 221 feet
Square footage: 42,000
Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright
Notable tenant: Price Tower Arts Center
The only Wright skyscraper to be built, the Price Tower was commissioned by Harold Price as a headquarters for his oil and chemical firm. The noted architect referred to the tower as “the tree that escaped the crowded forest.” The building has four elevator shafts that serve as its “trunk” with nineteen stories cantilevered outward, like branches on a tree with outer walls hanging from the floors. The resulting asymmetrical structure looks different from each angle.
Triangles factor heavily in the design and can be seen in not only the basic structure but also in the lighting and ventilation grills as well as in built-in furniture. The tower was designed as a multi-use building with retail, office and residential space. Today the space is occupied primarily by the Price Tower Arts Center. The building earned National Historic Landmark status in 2007.
Oregon: Grand Stable and Carriage Building
Year built: 1885
Height: 51 feet
Architect: Warren Heywood Williams
Notable tenant: Pacific Stationery Company
The Grand Stable and Carriage Building features an Italianate cast-iron façade, a style popular from 1868 to 1888, though few are this well preserved. As the name implies, it was built to house horses and carriages, but was later used as a warehouse, printing plant and stationery store. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
Pennsylvania: Comcast Center
Year built: 2008
Height: 974 feet
Square footage: 1,238,000
Architect: Robert A.M. Stern Architects
Notable tenant: Comcast
The Comcast Center is the second tallest building in the city and the tallest LEED building in Philadelphia. It has specially designed exterior LED lighting that makes it possible to commemorate special events by changing the colors.
Until 1987, Philadelphia’s City Hall, which is topped by a statue of William Penn, was the tallest building in the city. From that point forward, no Philly professional sports team won a championship. To combat the Curse of Billy Penn, a 25-inch statue of the Philadelphia founder was placed on a steel beam at the skyscraper’s highest point. Though the statue was stolen, it was replaced and the Philadelphia Phillies won the 2008 World Series.
Rhode Island: The Superman Building
Year built: 1927
Height: 428 feet
Square footage: 441,000
Architect: Walker & Gillette
Notable tenant: Currently vacant
This Art Deco-style building is the tallest in the state and was originally built by the Industrial Trust Company. The steel frame’s exterior is made of Indiana limestone. Six wings move outward from a central tower. Promotional material for the new building called it “A Business Building for Building Business.”
Because of corporate mergers, the building’s name changed over the years, to the Fleet Bank Tower and then the Bank of America Building. In 2012, Bank of America moved out. Now it’s referred to as its address, 111 Westminster. It is affectionately known as the Superman Building because of its resemblance to the building that houses the Daily Planet, where Clark Kent, Superman’s everyman alter-ego, is employed. As part of the Providence skyline, it is also seen in the background as the fictional city of Quahog, the setting of the animated television show “Family Guy.”
South Carolina: Farmers' and Exchange Bank
Year built: 1854
Height: 2 stories
Architect: Edward C. Jones and Francis D. Lee
Notable tenant: Garibaldi Management Corp
This brick and masonry structure is based on Moorish Revival features. That’s unusual in Charleston, which is known for its more traditional structures (or for that matter, anywhere in the U.S.) and is thought to be based on illustrations from Washington Irving’s book “The Alhambra,” which was popular at the time.
The main façade has three bays with tall arches on both the first and second floors and features brownstone from New Jersey and Connecticut as well as muqarnas (honeycomb vaulting more commonly used in Persian and North African architecture) on the cornice. Restored in 1970, it was named a National Historic Landmark in 1973. In 1990 it was remodeled for use as a restaurant.
South Dakota: CenturyLink Tower
City: Sioux Falls
Year built: 1971
Height: 174 feet
Square footage: 296,448
Architect: Fritzel, Kroeger, Griffin & Berg
Notable tenant: CenturyLink
The 11-story building is the tallest in the state, gaining the title after the 202-foot Zip Feed Tower was demolished in 2005. The current façade is not original to the building, but was installed due to structural issues in the original white stone exterior. It was named the state’s ugliest building by Business Insider readers.
Tennessee: AT&T Building
Year built: 1994
Height: 617 feet
Square footage: 690,297
Architect: Earl Swensson Associates
Notable tenant: AT&T
The tallest building in the state, it takes up more than a full city block and features a three-story four-season garden atrium. The design, which features twin spires atop the tower and dark colors at the top floors evoke the mask of Batman, earning it a superhero nickname. In 2011, a drawing of the building joined iconic buildings from other Tennessee cities became a part of state-issued driver’s licenses.
Texas: Fountain Place
Year built: 1986
Height: 720 feet
Square footage: 1,200,000
Architect: I.M. Pei and Harry Cobb
Notable tenant: Tenet Healthcare
A multi-faceted prism, the 58-story late-modernist building was the second tallest in the city when it was completed. Today it ranks No. 5. While Wells Fargo has offices in the building, this is the only major skyscraper in the city to not hold the name of the occupying bank.
It’s named Fountain Place for the 172 dancing fountains located in its plaza. Designed by WET Design, the water show is the first to use the company’s open-jointed paving that gives the illusion of water shooting from openings in the plaza’s surface. Exterior shots appeared in the television series “Queen of the South” and in seasons 10 to 14 of “Dallas,” said to be Bobby Ewing’s oil company offices. The dancing fountains appeared in the movie “Blank Check.”
Utah: Walker Center
City: Salt Lake City
Year built: 1912
Height: 220 feet
Square footage: 135,000
Architect: Eames & Young
Notable tenant: CroatiaTech
Originally the Walker Bank Building, when this 16-story building was built, it was the tallest from the Mississippi River to San Francisco. A 64-foot weather tower sits atop the building and provides a weather forecast via colored lights (blue indicates clear skies, it flashes blue for cloudy skies, red when it’s going to rain and flashing red for snow). This tower was removed in the early 1980s due to a change in the city sign ordinance that limited heights, but in 2008 it was granted a special exception request and was rebuilt. It has been on the National Historic Registry since 2007.
Vermont: Mayo Building
Year built: 1902
Height: Four stories
Architect: Lane and Son
Notable tenant: Northfield Savings Bank
Financed by Dr. William B. Mayo, the Mayo Building has undergone few alterations in the last century. The third and largest of the doctor’s projects, it is an example of the Classical Revival style and includes many decorative granite details. (Northfield is known for its granite industry.)
At four stories, it is the tallest in the commercial district and originally housed the post office, stores, offices, apartments and meeting rooms for the Masonic Lodge. Today it is owned by the doctor’s descendants and houses a similar mix of commercial and residential tenants. In 1983 it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Virginia: The Tycon Office Building
City: Tyson’s Corner
Year built: 1982
Height: 88 feet
Square footage: 290,000
Architect: Volker Zinser and Barry Dunn
Notable tenant: Freddie Mac
The largest office building in the area when it was built, it included parking for 900 cars (a record at the time), but has not been universally appreciated. Known in the area as the “Toilet Bowl Building,” it features a seven-story ring at its entrance inspired by 19th-century French architects’ fascination with geometry. In 2018 it made Business Insider’s list of the ugliest building in every state.
Washington: Columbia Center
Year built: 1985
Height: 967 feet
Square footage: 1,500,000
Architect: Chester L. Lindsey
Notable tenant: Dorsey & Whitney
The tallest building in Seattle and the second tallest on the West Coast, it is made up of three concave facades with two setbacks which make the building look more like three adjacent towers than one. The original design called for the building to be 1,006 feet, but FAA regulations prohibited that height due to its proximity to Sea-Tac Airport.
The developer did, however, manage to overcome city regulations limiting the height of skyscrapers to 50 stories, by providing retail space at the street level. Pushback over this loophole led to a new law regulating downtown building sizes in 1989. The tower has the tallest viewing area on the West Coast and west of the Mississippi. It is the location for the LLS Firefighter Stairclimb, the largest firefighter competition of its kind in the world, as well as the Big Climb, a stair race to the top benefiting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Washington D.C.: 2121 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Year built: 1997
Height: 155 feet
Square footage: 1,100,000
Architect: Michael Graves
Notable tenant: International Finance Corporation
The first LEED-EB: O&M -certified building in Washington D.C., this 11-story building takes up nearly an entire city block. The corner of the building is rounded where it meets the corner of 21st and Pennsylvania, and is an effective blending of old and new in the capital city.
The building also is part of the city’s “Accidental Museum of Paleontology;” if you look at the exterior, numerous fossils can clearly be seen in the stone, believed to be Jura Marble, a Jurassic limestone from southern Germany.
West Virginia: The City Bank Building
Year built: 1891
Height: 125 feet
Square footage: 12,000
Architect: Franzheim, Giesey, and Faris
Notable tenant: Stazenski Law
The six-story building was the tallest in the state at the time it was built. Made of granite and brick, it has Romanesque styling, a heavy stone archway and a turreted tower. Residents gathered to watch the heavy granite blocks from Maine put into place on the façade. The building was equipped with modern conveniences, such as “a rapid Otis elevator” and “an artesian well underneath the building” as well as lavatories on every floor. The roof was finished with Spanish tiling.
Wisconsin: Milwaukee Center
Year built: 1988
Height: 426 feet
Square footage: 370,000
Architect: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
Notable tenant: Guardian Life Insurance
The 28-story postmodern building is a mixed-use complex that in addition to office space also houses a hotel, two theaters and a number of bars and restaurants. At 426 feet, it is the fifth tallest in Wisconsin. The peaked tower and red brick are reminiscent of city hall. The building’s rotunda connects it with the Saint Kate Arts hotel and the Pabst Theater.
Wyoming: Tivoli Building
Year built: 1892
Height: Three stories
Square footage: 4,126
Architect: Warren Richardson
Notable tenant: Bennett Law Group
The three-story Victorian combines elements of Queen Anne, Chateauesque and Romanesque Revival architecture. At the time it was built, it was praised as being lavish, among the finest buildings found west of Chicago. Originally designed as a saloon, it included a cold storage facility to store Pabst beer and a brothel on the second floor. During Prohibition, it serves as a clothing store and speakeasy.
In 1981 the Chamber of Commerce completed extensive renovations. Since then, it served as a coffee shop, educational offices, campaign headquarters for Governor Mead and a brewpub. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places.