Many wonderful stories begin with big deception, and some of them have a happy ending. One of these stories tells about the smallest skyscraper in the world, which stands in the Texas city of Wichita Falls. The height of an unremarkable brick turret sticking out of a nondescript barn-like structure is no less than 12 meters. Who and for what merits made this miracle in skyscrapers, and what does the big deception have to do with it? You will find out now.
In 1912, oil was found in the vicinity of Wichita Falls, causing a sharp influx of settlers into the city. In addition to residential premises, there was a need for office buildings. Then the engineer J. McMahon proposed a project for a building with a height of 480 feet (about 146 meters), requesting $ 200, 000 for the work. A year later, construction was completed, but the height of the building was only 12 meters. It turned out that in the project the engineer indicated the height not in feet, but in inches, which the customers did not pay attention to. As a result, attempts by investors to get their money back through the courts were unsuccessful.
Initially, the building irritated the residents of the city, but in the 1920s it gained some fame thanks to the mention in the publication of Robert Ripley "Ripley's Believe It or Not!" At the same time it received the name "The smallest skyscraper in the world" (eng. World's littlest skyscraper). Meanwhile, oil reserves near the city were depleted, and the Great Depression finally undermined the city's economy. For several years the building was not used at all. The house changed owners many times; it housed offices, hairdressers, and cafes. Several times the building was planned to be dismantled, but the townspeople began to actively advocate for its preservation. In 1986, the "skyscraper" was donated to the Wichita County Heritage Society.
And in the end, the city of Wichita Falls received, if not a skyscraper, but still quite a decent house. Newby-McMahon has survived decades to become a monument to the greed, gullibility and oil boom in Texas. Today, the building houses an antique shop and an artist's studio, and the house itself has been declared a Texas Historic Landmark. They are probably proud of the fact that they live in the smallest skyscraper in the world - even if it was built as a result of a big deception.