We Built It! – Can You Pass This Quiz About the History of American Structures?

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This test of your understanding of American structures is the ideal way to boost your confidence quickly. Let’s go! Take your hard hat with you!

The Brooklyn Bridge, at 1,595 feet, was the world’s longest suspension bridge when it was built. Fuggedaboutit! But what neighboring bridge shattered that record by 4.5 feet in 1903?

Williamsburg Bridge

George Washington Bridge

Throgs Neck Bridge

Bridge Over Troubled Water

Williamsburg Bridge
Workers who were involved in building the Brooklyn Bridge suffered as a result. There is no precise number, but it is estimated that more than 20 people died while constructing the steel-wire structure. Strangely, they would try again and construct an even longer bridge only a few miles away four years later. But American building is built in that spirit!

Observing the Washington Monument closely, you’ll see that it changes color, and the stone appears darker about one-third of the way up. What makes the two sections distinct?

It’s an optical illusion

It took so long they had to use two different quarries

To pay homage to the two political parties

The bottom part is just kept cleaner

It took so long they had to use two different quarries
Lack of funding, a power struggle within the Washington National Monument Society, and the Civil War, the monument project that had begun in 1848, were put on hold for 23 years, from 1854 to 1877. Since the marble was obtained from a different quarry than the bottom portion, you can see a color change when you are 27% of the way up the monument.

Unbelievably, this famous building for the Fisher Brothers finished just before the Great Depression, was constructed using over 40 different types of marble. How about some good timing? This masterpiece of Art Deco is where?

Death Valley



Des Moines

The Fisher Building’s website sums it up best: “The Fisher Building has been an iconic landmark in Detroit since its completion in 1928. Through The Platform’s stewardship—respecting its historic integrity, activating its retail and office spaces, and developing a new brand—the Fisher Building will be the beacon for inclusion and transgender rights.

Sometimes we build tall, and sometimes we build weirdly tall. When this building was finished in 1972, the SF Chronicle dubbed it “the biggest architectural dunce cap in the world.” What company is forever associated with it, even though it is no longer headquartered there?





The Transamerica building was the eighth-tallest structure in the world when it was completed. It is currently ranked #382 on how times change after 50 years.

One of the first “skyscrapers,” the Equitable Life Building in New York City, was chosen through a competition in 1868. What invention was first incorporated into this building, making it noteworthy?

Shatterproof windows

A Roomba



This seven-story structure was highly innovative for its time, boasting electric lighting, fireproofing, and elevators. Iron, granite, and brick were used in its construction.

Americans chose none other than the Ghermezian family to build the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. They had already achieved global fame by constructing a sizable mall in which country?





Compared to the West Edmonton Mall, which has nearly 1 million square feet more space, the Mall of America has more than 2.7 million square feet of retail space. However, the Mall of America has a Nickelodeon Theme Park inside of it, which they do not have up there in Alberta.

The Hoover Dam Museum in Nevada is the place that will make you utter “Dam! That’s interesting!” the most. If you go there, you can find out what the Hoover Dam’s original name was.

Colorado Dam

Boulder Dam

Roosevelt Dam

Hot Dam

Boulder Dam
According to the museum’s website, “the dam was originally planned for Boulder Canyon, and the early 1920s blueprints were labeled Boulder Dam. The dam continued to be called Boulder Dam until 1931 when Secretary of the Interior Ray Wilbur declared the dam would be known as Hoover Dam.”

This glass building in Seattle was the recipient of a national AIA Honor Award for Architecture in 2005. Cool. What’s inside, though?

More than 1.5 million books

Starbucks offices

The Seattle police department

A glass factory

More than 1.5 million books
The Seattle Public Library knew they would get something extraordinary when they hired Rem Koolhaas and Joshua Prince-Ramus of the Dutch company OMA to work with the Seattle company LMN Architects on renovations. More than 1.5 million books are housed in this 11-story Central Library, as opposed to just 900,000 in the previous library structure.

The Empire State Building site in New York City was sold to Bethlehem Engineering Corporation in 1928 for $15 million. The biggest hotel in the world was previously housed there. Who was the hotel’s owner?

The Astors

Andrew Carnegie

Mary and John Murray

The Drumpf family

The Astors
William Waldorf Astor established the Waldorf Hotel in 1893 on the current Empire State Building site. The hotel that was created when they combined it with his cousin’s establishment next door had an astounding 1,300 rooms. The Astors decided to relocate their hotel to Park Avenue in the 1920s, leaving the land up for grabs.

The Bell Labs building in Holmdel can be described as Jersey Strong. It can also describe in two other words: Finnish Design. Eero Saarinen, a Finnish-born architect, designed the structure. What other iconic American structures did Saarinen design?

World’s Largest Ball of Twine in Darwin, MN

Gateway Arch in St. Louis

Guggenheim Museum in New York

Capitol Records Building in L.A.

Gateway Arch in St. Louis
Eero Saarinen was a Finnish architect famous in the 1950s. He also designed Dulles International Airport in the Washington, DC, area and the Bell Labs building in Holmdel, New Jersey. Of course, the Gateway Arch, which stands 630 feet above St. Louis, is his most famous achievement.

A close-up of a small section of the Golden Gate Bridge was completed in 1937 and painted “International Orange.” What famous bridge master was hired to run the suspension cables using a technique in which he banded steel wires together in spools and carried them across on spinning wheels?





John A. Roebling’s Sons Company, a New Jersey-based company, was chosen to build the suspension cables because of their outstanding work on the Brooklyn Bridge. All told, they spun over 25,000 wires into each 7,650-foot cable. They were given a year to complete the task, but they did so in just over six months.

One of the most iconic structures in the United States, it is located in the heart of Philadelphia. The 24-foot thick walls contain 4 acres of space, and a 53,000-pound sculpture of William Penn stands on top. Who designed the 36-foot Penn statue, better known for his artistic mobiles?

Mark Rothko


Alexander Calder

Jackson Pollock

Alexander Calder
Calder was a kinetic sculpture artist best known for his work with motors and air currents. They can be found in some of our country’s most populous cities and the finest museums. Calder, a native of nearby Lawnton, PA, was an obvious choice to commemorate his home state’s namesake.

It’s not a building, but it’s a significant enough achievement that Buzz Aldrin attended its dedication. The Grand Canyon Skywalk is for you if you don’t mind getting dizzy. Which Native American tribe spearheaded its construction?





The Tribe claims that the Skywalk is just the beginning of a larger strategy that will, they hope, lead to the creation of the 9,000-acre Grand Canyon West development.

If you were in a 1962-built structure looking southeast at the city, you would be nearly 600 feet above it. Maybe you’d have a lovely, passionate night with a lot of promise, but I’m getting off-topic. Which building’s peak would you be at?

Mount Rushmore

Willis Tower in Chicago

John Hancock Tower in Boston

Space Needle in Seattle

Space Needle in Seattle
Appropriately, the Space Needle was designed with its trademark spaceship observation deck and constructed for the 1962 World’s Fair, whose theme was “The Age of Space.” Near the top of the tower, the Space Needle has only 360-degree views of downtown Seattle, Mount Rainier, Puget Sound, and the Cascades and Olympic mountain ranges.

No one, except for the Vanderbilts, comes close to the French regarding creating opulent estates. With 250 rooms, the Biltmore Estate, owned by George Vanderbilt, is the most significant private residence in the United States and was designed to resemble Versailles. Where exactly is the renowned Biltmore estate?

Asheville, NC

Newport, RI

Gary, IN

Sam Simeon, CA

Asheville, NC
The Biltmore Estate of George Vanderbilt was begun in 1889 and finished six years later. Cornelia, George and Edith Stuyvesant Dresser’s first child, was born there in 1900. It makes you ponder whether she shared a room with her parents or if she was 155 rooms away.

The most well-known architects and designers in the United States are immigrants, which is true of the entire country. I.M. Pei, a Chinese-American architect, did NOT create which of the following famous buildings? Pei?

East Building of the National Gallery of Art

Freedom Tower

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

200 Clarendon Street

Freedom Tower
His designs were Pei’s structures on the list, except for the Freedom Tower. Some of Pei’s other well-known structures are the Four Seasons Hotel in New York, the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, and the Javits Center in New York City.

San Diego’s Hotel del Coronado hosted the event with celebrities from Marilyn Monroe to Thomas Edison. This famous hotel is a shining example of what architectural style, not Victorian?

Napoleonic Architecture

Art Greco

Queen Anne Architecture

King George Architecture

Queen Anne Architecture
While Queen Anne architecture was famous in the United States from roughly 1880 to 1910, it was pretty different from Victorian architecture. It featured overhanging eaves, round, square, or polygonal tower(s), shaped Dutch gables, and various other ornate features.

Like no other building in the world, Mount Rushmore delicately walks the line between the created and the uncreated. What method was employed to construct it, using a lot of dynamite?





The first step in constructing Mount Rushmore was dynamite blasting, followed by “honeycombing,” a process in which workers drill holes close together, allowing small pieces to be removed by hand.

The world’s largest log hotel, constructed in the United States almost 120 years ago, may not be a good choice if you have pyrophobia. Ironically, the building took the place of the Upper Geyser Basin Hotel, which had been destroyed by fire. What does this renowned hotel’s name mean?

Logs ‘R Us Inn and Retreat

Wawona Hotel

Big Meadow Lodge

Old Faithful Inn

Old Faithful Inn
The famous geyser erupts regularly from the Old Faithful Lodge because the front is oriented 90 degrees to the basin where it erupts. The porch roof serves as a viewing platform for Old Faithful and other geyser eruptions.

These globe-shaped “biodomes” were the subject of a Fast Company article titled “A First Look at the Spheres.” Whose headquarters were these impressive buildings built for in 2017?





Amazon created these biospheres to give staff members at its Seattle headquarters peace in the middle of the city. According to Fast Company, “plants dampen interior sounds, waterfalls provide pleasant white noise, and glass panels muffle outside traffic.”

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