Happy Centennial! Greensboro’s Historic Jefferson Standard Building turned 100!

WFMY News2
By Manning Franks

GREENSBORO, N.C. — It’s time to wish a happy centennial to one of Greensboro’s most iconic structures: The Jefferson Standard Building.

“When Will Rogers the movie star came to Greensboro in the 1920s. He said that the people in Greensboro were as proud of it as a parent would be proud of a baby’s first tooth,” said Benjamin Briggs, the director of Preservation North Carolina.

Yet, baby’s first tooth has a richer history than you would expect – a history dating all the way back to 1917.

“Guilford County Commissioners chose to sell the old Guilford County Courthouse, which had been located on this site of this building for about 150 years. So, the county commissioners sold this property in 1917 Jefferson standard was the highest bidder, and the old building was torn down. And on that site was erected the new Jefferson Standard Building,” Briggs said.

Of course, the Building didn’t sprout up overnight – President of Jefferson Standard Life Insurance, Julian Price, needed a unique design.

“This one specifically replicates a building that still exists today the equitable building on Broadway in lower Manhattan and that is because of the architect of this building was Charles Hartman, who came from Manhattan to Greensboro in 1920,” said Briggs.

In October of 1923, the Jefferson Standard Building was fully builtm, becoming the tallest building in all of Greensboro.

“And it really remained unrivaled until the 1960s. And it was surpassed then with the addition to the back of it to the West that was built in 1990. So, today it’s really an icon for the city,” Briggs said.

An icon for the city that later expanded in 1990 to include its well-known sister structure, The Lincoln Financial Building, now currently the tallest structure in Greensboro.

“Our lives are expressed through the buildings and the built environment around us. When we care for those buildings, it’s a way to illustrate that we find that our voice our history is important,” Briggs proclaimed.

In the coming years, even more Greensboro buildings will be reaching their centennial, and just like Jefferson Standard Building, they all will have a story to tell.

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