The World’s Smallest Skyscraper, The Ultimate Con

When you hear the word ‘skyscraper’ the first thing that comes into your mind is a massively tall structure such as the Shard or Empire State building. What you wouldn’t expect to see is a building measuring just 12 metres in height.

The Newby-McMahon building in Wichita Falls, Texas, holds the dubious honour of being official recognised as the ‘World’s Littlest Skyscraper’. How did it earn its title?

Back in the 1910’s, oil production was soaring in the state of Texas but office space was in short supply so a group of investors commissioned a man named J D McMahon to construct a four-storey high-rise annex.

Plans were quickly drawn up but what the proposed owners of the building hadn’t noticed was that the measurements had been done in inches rather than feet, something they only realised as the building began to take shape.

Because everything had been signed off, there was nothing that could be done; they’d well and truly been stitched up by Mr McMahon who quickly scarpered from the city. So instead of a 480 feet structure, they ended up with one that spanned just 480 inches high!

They’d also forgotten to include a stairway in the original plans so a ladder had to be used to gain access to the top level.

For a number of years afterwards, the building sat completely empty. It now houses an antiques shop on the ground floor and an art studio on the third floor. We can only presume that a set of stairs have now been installed.

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