Pittsburgh’s thinnest buildingThe Skinny Building

The Skinny Building

At the corner of Forbes and Wood you think there is just one building but there are two.  The Skinny Build stands at three stories and just 5 feet 11 inches in width. 

The narrow lot on which the building stands originated in 1903, when Diamond Street (now Forbes Avenue) was widened in order to ease downtown traffic. This required the demolition of several buildings on the north side of the street between Smithfield Street and Market Square, one of which was a two-story brick store owned by Hugh McKee. After the widening, only a 6-foot strip remained.

In 1903. the City of Pittsburgh widened Diamond Way, today’s Forbes Avenue. Many  properties lost 30 feet. Then In 1907, banking magnate Andrew Mellon bought the parcel of land, hoping that the City would widen the sidewalk too.  And give him a profit. No luck, in 1918, Mellon sold it to Louis Hendel. He built the three story building. In the 1950’s the ground floor was a lunch counter/diner. Today the city hopes to turn it into an art gallery. 

In 1907, Andrew Mellon bought the property from McKee for $40,000. Thinking he could make a profit when the city widens the sidewalk. No luck, the city never widen the sidewalk. Mellon sold the building in 1918 to one of its tenants, fruit vendor Louis Hendel, who paid $95,000.

 The Hendel Building, or Skinny Building, is located in  Downtown PittsburghPennsylvania. With a width of 5 feet 2 inches (1.57 m) wide, it is one of the narrowest commercial buildings in the world, rivaling the Sam Kee Building in Vancouver which is considered the narrowest.The Kee building is 4 feet 11 inches (1.50 m) wide at the ground floor, but has overhanging bay windows on the second floor that extend to 6 feet (1.8 m).[1] The Skinny Building’s narrow lot was created in 1903 by a street widening project, and the building itself was constructed in 1926 by Louis Hendel (c. 1874–1945), partly out of spite for neighboring business owners who complained about him obstructing the sidewalk with his fruit-selling business. Due to the building’s impractical dimensions, the second and third floors have not seen much use, but the ground floor has housed a number of different businesses including a popular lunch counter.