Saturday, August 25, 2012

Will Kraemer Atop the Woolworth Building, circa 1913

My wife's grandfather, Will Kraemer, an expert in terracotta fabrication, installation and maintenance, sometime around 1913 while the Woolworth Building was under construction in downtown Manhattan. Photographer unknown. 

Will was employed at the time by Atlantic Terracotta, which made the architectural ornamentation that adorns the building. In the early 1930s, Will and his son Frank, my wife's father, started a business, Remark Building Services (remark is kramer spelled backwards) that did exterior maintenance on many of the most famous buildings in NYC, including, of course, the Woolworth Building. In the late 1960s, the artist Red Grooms was creating his famous sculpture "Ruckus Manhattan" which is an enormous fabulist rendition of the Woolworth Building. My late brother-in-law, Jeffrey Kramer, can be seen as part of the sculpture hanging from a scaffold 50 or so stories off the ground.

This photograph, as well as some very rare monographs we own, will be in an exhibit at the Skyscraper Museum this coming January in celebration of the Woolworth Building's 100th Anniversary. The building, which was built be THE Mr. Woolworth has changed hands recently and the new owners are currently gutting the many floors of the interior in anticipation of turning them into mega-buck co-op apartments.

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