Lou's Place in Cyberspace



On an excursion in 2003 to take photographs of the historic town of Jim Thorpe which was formerly known as Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania, I happened to notice a large deserted building off in the distance. This building was in an open field on my right as I approached the town. I made a detour into the field to have a closer look at the building.

Crossing several sets of railroad tracks I approached the building which was in a deteriorated condition. I entered the structure and soon noticed that the construction of this building used a building technique that I did not expect in a building of this age.

Having been in many mill buildings of various types of approximately this age and earlier, I expected to see large wooden timbers and cross beams. This building had iron or steel columns and cross beams.

I took a number of photographs and decided to return and take measurements of the structure as I felt the building would not last much longer in the condition it was in.

I returned to the building several times during 2003 to complete the measurements. I had decided that this building would be an interesting structure to re-create using a computer design program that I had used for other studies.

Because of several projects I was then working on, I put aside this project for another time.

Eleven years later, in 2014 and with more time available, I looked through some uncompleted projects and found the measurements and photographs I had taken in 2003 of this unusual building. I decided to complete the project and finish the research I had started on this building.

I soon learned the building, after many attempts to restore it for various purposes, was demolished in 2007. Its fate had been decided through the courts. The building no longer existed.

I felt this structure would be interesting to virtually recreate as a 3D computer model.

The following study of this building was begun in 2015, eight years after its demolition.

What I learned of its history and use is presented in the following pages.


At the end of the nineteenth century, steel began to be used in the construction of large commercial buildings. This became the new method which allowed structures to be built higher and stronger then ever before.

Steel beams of various shape and sizes were being manufactured by steel producers as the demand for these structures increased. Steel rather then iron or cast iron which was brittle in comparison, made this transformation possible.

Steel beam structures at this time were assembled by using rivets to hold the various pieces of the infrastructure together.

Red-hot rivets were placed in pre-drilled holes in the steel beams. One man held the hot rivet in place with a tool designed for that purpose, while another man used a hand-held pneumatic hammer to hammer down the protruding end of the rivet into a rounded head, holding the pieces together.

This technique was used in the formation of steel structures that led to the construction of larger and taller buildings that we know as “Sky-Scrapers” today.

The first building using this new steel technique was the Home Insurance Company building in Chicago, built in 1885. This building used a steel and cast iron infrastructure, with the outside masonry providing the stability and not the steel core itself.

The Home Insurance building was ten stories rising to 138 feet in height. The use of steel in structures also reduced the risk of a spreading fire. The Home Insurance Building was demolished in 1931.

Home Ins


The first all steel framed building was the Rand-McNally Building built in Chicago in 1890. This building used the steel frame itself for stability and masonry as external fašade.
The Rand-McNally Building was demolished in 1911.


   The first true “Skyscraper” built in New York City was the Tower Building on lower Broadway, built in 1889. It is considered the first skyscraper because it had a steel skeleton at its core and this steel skeleton supported the entire structure. The Tower Building was eleven stories high.It was demolished in 1913.

    Previous to the “Tower” building, structures in New York City were mostly five to seven stories in height and built of wood with brick exteriors. The use of steel as the inner skeleton is what gave new construction the ability to grow upwards creating that magnificent visage we know today as the
New York City skyline.

Flat Iron
(Courtesy Library of Congress)

   The famous Fuller or “Flatiron” Building built in New York City in 1902 was designed in1898. This building used steel as the inner framework and main support and exterior masonry as ornament reflecting the style of the time.

  Beside taller buildings being designed, all the new bridges built in Manhattan and elsewhere after this point, including the George Washington Bridge started in 1927, were constructed using riveted steel structures.

   These riveted steel structures include such famous buildings as the Chrysler Building (1930), Empire State Building (1931), and most skyscrapers constructed by the mid 1900’s.

[Home]    [Inroduction-1 ]    [Introduction-2]    [ Exterior ]    [Construction-1]    [Construction-2 ]    [Construction-3 ]    [Construction-4 ]    [Construction-5 ]    [ First Floor-1]    [ First Floor-2 ]

[ Second Floor-1]    [ Second Floor-2]

This entire study of the Packerton buiding is available in book form-HERE

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 [ Photos 1-2D ]    [ Photos 3-3E ]    [ Photos 4-4B ]    [ Photos 5-9 ]    [ Photos 10-17 ]     [ Photos 18-22 ]