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15 historic American skyscrapers that aren't the Empire State Building

By: Matt Hickman on March 4, 2016, 12:53 p.m.
The state capitol building of North Dakota

Photo: RRuntsch/Shutterstock

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North Dakota State Capitol, Bismarck

While some tall building enthusiasts might scoff at the classification of the North Dakota State Capitol as a true skyscraper, this 21-story Art deco tower is indeed the real deal — the one and only "Skyscraper on the Prairie." And whatever you do, do not compare the capitol to the humdrum corporate headquarters of an insurance company … that is, unless you want to evoke the wrath of Gov. Jack Dalrymple himself.

Built on the cheap during the Great Depression to replace the previous capitol leveled by fire in 1930, the North Dakota State Capitol, at 242 feet, is the state's tallest building. This means that North Dakota is the only state in which its tallest building is also its capitol with the exception of West Virginia, whose Cass Gilbert-designed classical-style capitol stands just 50 feet taller thanks to its XL-sized golden dome. This also means that a taller building hasn't been erected in North Dakota since 1934 — although this could soon change. And no, North Dakota, which is actually home to two of the world's tallest man-made structures in the form of 2,000-foot-plus TV towers, doesn't have the shortest tallest building of any state. White Hall at the University of Wyoming in Laramie (200 feet), Franklin Towers in Portland, Maine (175 feet), CenturyLink Tower in Sioux Falls, South Dakota (174 feet) and Decker Towers in Burlington, Vermont (124 feet), all beat out the North Dakota State Capitol in the shortest/tallest department.