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11 story triangular English--American Building
NPS photograph by Jody Cook

The English--American Building, built in 1897, is Atlanta's oldest standing skyscraper. It was designed by Bradford Gilbert for the English--American Loan and Trust Company. It pre-dates New York City's larger and more famous Flatiron Building built in 1901 by D.H. Burnham and Company. The English--American Building has played an important role in structuring the urban environment of downtown Atlanta. Both the exterior surfaces and the narrow triangular form have continually provided a strong anchor to the central business district (the Fairlie--Poplar Historic District). In 1910 it became known as the Empire Life Building for six years until it was renamed the Flatiron Building.

The building is an 11-story, narrow triangular steel-framed building which conforms to its lot between Peachtree, Broad and Poplar streets in the center of Atlanta's downtown business district. The steel frame is enclosed at the base in heavy limestone piers, while stone facing in upper stories provides a vigorously sculptural form for the entire building. The street facades contain the base and shaft capital components. The base is equivalent to two stories in height with large glass areas separated by stone piers. The two upper floors above a heavy cornice and a parapet are the cap of the building.
Historic postcard of English--American Building
Courtesy of Jody Cook

While the exterior of the building remains intact, some alterations to the original fabric have occurred. The original brick and limestone wall surfaces have been subsequently painted. A corridor originally passed through the center of the building with elevators adjacent to this passageway, and the original walls of this area have been remodeled with smooth marble. The Georgia Savings Bank and Trust Company purchased the building in 1920 and held the title for more than 50 years. In 1974, the Hamilton Bank and Trust Company acquired the building. Presently, Historic Urban Equities Limited owns the building and leases office space to various organizations, including several architectural firms.

The English--American Building, more commonly known as the Flatiron Building, is located at 84 Peachtree St. in downtown Atlanta. It is open to the public during normal business hours.

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