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The Cooper Union's Foundation Building in Lower Manhattan was completed in 1859. This large six-story brownstone building of Anglo-Italianate style featuring heavy, ornate, round-arched windows was the first building in the world that was designed to accommodate an elevator—four years before such an invention became available for passenger use. At that time, New York was growing vertically and Peter Cooper, the founder of Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science—one of America’s leading private college today—believed that soon people would need elevators to reach the higher floors. Indeed, the development of skyscrapers would not have been possible without elevators. Many architects and engineers of the time must have felt the same, but Peter Cooper—an inventor himself—was one of the first to act.

The Cooper Union's Foundation Building. Photo: el_cigarrito / Shutterstock.com


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