Category Archives: May
In a heated race with Walter Chrysler of the Chrysler Corporation, John Jakob Raskob of General Motors was challenged to build the tallest skyscraper in New York City during the Great Depression. Raskob’s project was met with great success, as the Empire State Building was finished, astonishingly, in just over a year. And though it didn’t beat the completion of the Chrysler Building, it surpassed it in height and towered over the city in 102 stories and 1,250 feet. Its construction was both a marvel and a source of pride for New Yorkers: done under budget, erecting the Empire State Building still put jobs in the hands of thousands of unemployed workers per day, with excellent pay compensation. For 40 years, even despite a giant gorilla attack, the Empire State Building stood as the tallest building in the world.
The Empire State Building is a New York City landmark. Why do you think that is? What is the meaning of “landmark?”
Between the Great Depression and World War II, America tuned its ears to Kate Smith, the most patriotic recording star of her time. President Franklin Roosevelt even introduced her as saying, “This is Kate Smith; this is America.” After singing in the theater and Army camp circuit, Kate was picked up by Columbia records in 1931 to perform her own 15-minute nightly radio show, on which she sang the song that made her famous, Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America.” She also conducted a daily talk show that covered important current issues and women’s affairs. After the advent of television, Smith was a regular on variety programs like the Ed Sullivan Show, the Jack Paar Show, and even hosted her own Kate Smith Variety Hour. The larger-than-life chanteuse charmed her audiences with her signature greeting and sign-off: “Hello, everybody!” and “… Thanks for listening.” Smith died in 1986 in Raleigh, North Carolina following complications from diabetes.
Have you ever heard the song “God Bless America?” Why do you think it would make a good national anthem?
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