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The World's First Earthscraper

Updated on May 26, 2012
The World's First Earthscraper
The World's First Earthscraper | Source

In the mid to late 1930s, it was left to real estate mogul Triumvirate Nabob Trump, visionary great-uncle of The Donald, to create the World’s First Earthscraper. Triumvirate was known by friends and enemies alike by his initial nickname of TNT, for one perfectly appropriate and readily understood reason: he happened to be exceedingly fond of imploding each newly acquired building of his rivals, so that he could then erect in its stead another gaudy and audacious monument to his own name and ego. (Remind you of anyone, perhaps?)

But once the Empire State Building was erected in Manhattan in 1931 — in the process becoming not only New York City’s but also the world’s tallest building — TNT saw red. He was damned if some upstart competitor was going to upstage his own tall properties throughout The Big Apple. (It was especially galling to the Nabob that the so-called ‘design’ of the Empire State Building had been quickly cobbled together from some earlier studies for buildings in those backwater burgs of Cincinnati and Winston-Salem.)

So, for many ensuing months stretching into several years, Mr. Trump cast about for a totally unique and original way to outshine the landmark 102-story skyscraper. He had architectural team after architectural team designing paired pyramids, cylinders capped with cones, spires of stone and glass and tile, wedding cakes of weathered wood, ziggurats of zinc. But it seemed that nothing really caught his fancy or juked his juices.

Then, one sun-dappled spring afternoon, while hanging by his knees from his own executive monkeybars in the vast landscaped courtyard of his Long Island manse (as was his regular Saturday relaxation habit), ol’ TNT had a vision — a vision of the world’s first earthscraper!

Eureka! That was it!

He would literally stand the profession of architecture on its head, by developing a completely inverted structure — an earthscraper!. Gleefully he thought, “Let’s see my competitors try to top (er . . . bottom) that!”

Soon he had teams of designers and craftsman not knowing which way was up! Whereas individual features of the finished building seemed conventional enough when taken in isolation — a rusticated building base, a colonnaded main entrance with pediment, a grand staircase, a terraced tower as the central form, gargoyles and roof terraces, crenulations, pyramidal peak with flagpole and radio mast, etc. — they certainly acquired a strikingly different significance when turned topsy-turvy.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t long after the completion and initially occupancy of the World’s First Earthscraper that TNT’s fortunes began to fail. Seems tenants could never figure out which elevator buttons to push. Windows were perpetually flying open, toilets would not drain, chandeliers required rigid rod mountings, and the rooftop flagpole and radio mast had to be shored and strengthened on numerous occasions. Perhaps worst of all, the wealthy business executives upon whose generous lease payments TNT relied could never quite become comfortable with occupying the 1st or 2nd Floors of the building.

The World’s First Earthscraper was itself imploded after only 22 months of service.


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    • rickzimmerman profile image

      rickzimmerman 6 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      I will be sure to check them out (as they are two of my favorite things!).

    • lundmusik profile image

      lundmusik 6 years ago from Tucson AZ

      great satire!!! if you haven't already, see my hubs on deer crossings and celery