THE STANDARD OIL BUILDING
26 Broadway, New York
Standard Oil's name came from the company's manufacturing standards, which preceded today's ASTM standards.
Standard Oil's first building on the site of 26 Broadway was built in 1885 to design specs by architect Francis H. Kimball, when Standard Oil moved its headquarters from Cleveland, Ohio. The original structure was a 10-story, 86-foot-wide building that extended between Broadway and New Street in Manhattan, and was designed by Ebenezer L. Roberts. In 1895, six stories were added and a 27-foot-wide extension was made on its north side, designed by Kimball & Thompson. After World War I, Walter C. Teagle decided to expand the structure by buying all four neighboring buildings on the block.
The building is unusual in that its lower portion follows the curving contour of Broadway at the point of its location, while its tower is aligned with the other nearby skyscrapers of lower Manhattan. It is one of the first buildings in Manhattan to have setbacks and is topped by a pyramid modeled on the Mausoleum of Maussollos. At the time of completion, the pyramid was the tallest tower at the southern tip of Manhattan and was illuminated as a beacon for ships entering the harbor.
Francis H. Kimball
The building was designed to be imposing and project the huge power and influence of one of the richest men in the world, John D. Rockefeller, and the unusual curved building was meant to be visible to all passengers sailing into New York harbour, drawing them into the city.
From these headquarters, John D. Rockefeller directed the controversial company that monopolized 90% of the American oil industry, until the historic Supreme Court decision in 1911 to break up the monopoly, into smaller independent companies. Exxon Mobil is one of the remaining companies today.
It is said that when he entered the grandiose arched main entrance, Rockefeller would tip his hat to the many protestors outside.
The interior was very opulent, with the main lobby resembling a cathedral’s apse, clad in marble and gilded chandeliers, the doorways boasting names from the company’s past, the gleaming elevator cars were monogramed "SO".
"Number 26" was eventually sold in 1956, and today very little is known about its past compared to such landmark buildings as the Empire State, Chrysler and Woolworth.
Today, Arturo do Modica’s Charging Bull sculpture, situated across from the building's main entrance is one of the most iconic symbols and tourist attractions in the Financial District. It is only fitting, since the Standard Oil building was once the dominating symbol for Manhattan’s wealth and importance, and home to the richest man in the city.
Most recently, the Fearless Girl sculpture by Kristen Visbal, commissioned by State Street Global Advisors via McCann New York, was placed in front of the Charging Bull. The Fearless Girl depicts a girl facing the Charging Bull (or Wall Street Bull) and was installed on March 7, 2017.
The Fearless Girl was commissioned by investment firm State Street Global Advisors (SSgA) to advertise for an index fund which comprises gender-diverse companies that have a relatively high percentage of women among their senior leadership. The plaque below the statue states: "Know the power of women in leadership. SHE makes a difference," with "SHE" being both a descriptive pronoun and the fund's NASDAQ ticker symbol.
Jessica Jaber, LegacyNY's 50% Partner, knows the power of women in leadership and is happy to have her new office across from such a powerful symbol for women in business.