38 Years Ago, World Trade Center Opened


Thirty-eight years ago Monday, the World Trade Center opened its doors.

At the time, the grandiose structures known as Building 1 and Building 2 were the tallest skyscrapers in the world.

New Yorkers’ reaction to the towers were mixed. “Public sentiment ran from astonishment at the sheer size of the towers, to both thrill and dismay at their monolithic, modern design,” according to WTC.com.

The story of the World Trade Center and the twin towers started in the 1950s, when New York’s financial kingpins envisioned the city as the world’s commerce hub.

The plan for a megacenter, already ambitious at the time, was spearheaded by then-Chase Manhattan Bank Chairman David Rockefeller with the assistance of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

But those plans, as things do in New York, grew bigger and bigger.

Ground was broken in August 1966 on the $1.5 billion project, which comprised four other buildings, a hotel, a mall and a landscaped plaza.

Since its existence, the WTC was perceived as a symbol of Western dominance – and a target for enemies of the state.

– In 1993, a truck bomb was detonated below the North Tower. Six people were killed and 1,000 injured.

–  In 2001, in the deadliest terrorist attack committed on American soil, 19 hijackers took control of two airliners and crashed them into the twin towers.  More than 2,700 people were killed.

In the years since 9/11, several designs have been proposed to rebuild the World Trade Center. In April 2006, construction began on One World Trade Center. A WTC memorial is under construction with input from families who lost loved ones.

City officials originally targeted 2012 as the date for completion of the new World Trade Center, but several snags have delayed the project.

The project, locally called Freedom Tower, is envisioned as a 1,776-foot structure adjacent to several smaller buildings. It  is scheduled to be completed in 2018, according to one study.


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