the great wichita falls worlds littlest skyscraper flim flam

Con men have been around since the beginning of time, starting with Satan conning Eve into eating that apple.  During the Texas oil boom that commenced in 1901, the state had more than its share of con men, also known in those days as flim-flam men. Of course, most of them were drawn to Texas to take advantage of those folks whose sudden wealth made them easy targets for a scam. As I mentioned in a recent post, Howard was well aware of these unscrupulous individuals and the financial pain they caused to the townspeople of the oil boom towns.

In 1919, Wichita Falls found itself in the height of one of these oil booms when an ocean of Texas tea was discovered underneath nearby Burkburnett. This rich oil find turned thousands of locals into millionaires overnight and created a desperate need for office space as oil companies moved into town to exploit the field.  Due to the lack of offices, million dollar transactions were being negotiated in tents and on street corners.

Enter J. D. McMahon, a Pennsylvania landman and builder, who pitched to the pillars of the community a plan to build a grand skyscraper across the street from the popular St. James Hotel. With blueprints in hand, McMahon set about quickly selling $200,000 in stock to the investors, who were caught up in the make-a-quick-buck frenzy of the day.

Unfortunately none of these experienced businessmen noticed that all the plans, promotional literature and other documents McMahon produced had tiny decimal points in all the crucial figures. The plans showed 4.0 stories, which was mistakenly read as 40 stories. The height was actually measured in inches – 480” instead of feet. Indeed, each of the four stories was less than the size of a true story level.

The building was built on a small parcel of land next to the one story Newby Building, where McMahon had an office.  But there was one small problem, the property was actually owned by his landlord, who lived in Oklahoma.  This did not prevent McMahon’s construction crews from constructing the building, despite not having the owner’s consent.

Of course, after construction began, it soon became evident that the building was not all it was promised to be. The investors quickly tried to sue the developer and to have him arrested, but to no avail. It seems that even though they were clearly swindled, the investors did not have a legal leg to stand on.  The reason was simple: as written, the contract was followed to the letter. However, the investors did manage to recover a few dollars from the elevator company, who refused to honor their contract after they discovered the decimal points.

His welcome worn out, McMahon quickly absconded with the remaining funds and left the state. The jilted investors, desperate for revenge, hired private detectives to follow him around the country to warn others who might be targeted by his schemes.

The finished four-story red brick structure stood just 40 feet tall and each floor a paltry 118 square feet, with stairwells that led to the upstairs floors occupying a whopping 25 percent of the interior space.

As the old saying goes, when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. So with office space still in short supply, several oil companies squeezed desks into the tiny building and made the best of it until the all the oil was pumped out of the field. When the oil companies cleared out, the building was boarded up and forgotten.

Ironically, for most of its lifespan, the building has been known as the McMahon Building. It is also believed that author-adventurer Robert L. Ripley gave the building its “Littlest Skyscraper” nickname in his Ripley’s Believe It or Not nationally syndicated newspaper cartoon feature.

The building languished in limbo through the Great Depression before making a bit of a comeback in the 1930s, housing a barbershop and a cafe. Throughout the years, the small building survived vandalism, a fire and several tornadoes.

Over the ensuring decades, the building changed hands a number of times, often just barely escaping the wrecking ball, before being sold to the City of Wichita Falls.  In 2000, the architecture firm of Bundy, Young, Sims & Potter, who had been hired by the city to stabilize the neglected structure, purchased the building in partnership with Marvin Groves Electric. The new owners spent $180,000 remodeling it and today the ground floor is occupied by an antiques store, while the third story is an artist studio. So, despite a somewhat dubious beginning, the McMahon Building has, over the years, been a useful structure. The World’s Littlest Skyscraper is now preserved as a Historic Landmark and is part of the Depot Square Historic District.

So if you are ever traveling near Wichita Falls, stop by and have your photo taken in front of the World’s Littlest Skyscraper and tip your hat to the ingenuity of the conniving J. D. McMahon who made its construction possible.

"Looking for a Similar Assignment? Order now and Get a Discount!

Allassignments.net
Calculate your paper price
Pages (550 words)
Approximate price: -

Why Work with Us

Top Quality and Well-Researched Papers

We always make sure that writers follow all your instructions precisely. You can choose your academic level: high school, college/university or professional, and we will assign a writer who has a respective degree.

Professional and Experienced Academic Writers

We have a team of professional writers with experience in academic and business writing. Many are native speakers and able to perform any task for which you need help.

Free Unlimited Revisions

If you think we missed something, send your order for a free revision. You have 10 days to submit the order for review after you have received the final document. You can do this yourself after logging into your personal account or by contacting our support.

Prompt Delivery and 100% Money-Back-Guarantee

All papers are always delivered on time. In case we need more time to master your paper, we may contact you regarding the deadline extension. In case you cannot provide us with more time, a 100% refund is guaranteed.

Original & Confidential

We use several writing tools checks to ensure that all documents you receive are free from plagiarism. Our editors carefully review all quotations in the text. We also promise maximum confidentiality in all of our services.

24/7 Customer Support

Our support agents are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week and committed to providing you with the best customer experience. Get in touch whenever you need any assistance.

Try it now!

Calculate the price of your order

Total price:
$0.00

How it works?

Follow these simple steps to get your paper done

Place your order

Fill in the order form and provide all details of your assignment.

Proceed with the payment

Choose the payment system that suits you most.

Receive the final file

Once your paper is ready, we will email it to you.

Our Services

No need to work on your paper at night. Sleep tight, we will cover your back. We offer all kinds of writing services.

Essays

Essay Writing Service

No matter what kind of academic paper you need and how urgent you need it, you are welcome to choose your academic level and the type of your paper at an affordable price. We take care of all your paper needs and give a 24/7 customer care support system.

Admissions

Admission Essays & Business Writing Help

An admission essay is an essay or other written statement by a candidate, often a potential student enrolling in a college, university, or graduate school. You can be rest assurred that through our service we will write the best admission essay for you.

Reviews

Editing Support

Our academic writers and editors make the necessary changes to your paper so that it is polished. We also format your document by correctly quoting the sources and creating reference lists in the formats APA, Harvard, MLA, Chicago / Turabian.

Reviews

Revision Support

If you think your paper could be improved, you can request a review. In this case, your paper will be checked by the writer or assigned to an editor. You can use this option as many times as you see fit. This is free because we want you to be completely satisfied with the service offered.

Get better grades effortlesslyIt’s cheaper than you might think

Effortlessly get the essays and grades you need. You can now get any essay, on any subject and at ANY deadline with just 10 minutes of your time (or less). Your professor will love you for it!