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Posts Tagged ‘fine print’

View of Wichita Falls from the top floor of the world's smallest skyscraper. -- Photo by Pat Bean

 

The four-story, 80-foot tall skyscraper. — Photo by Pat Bean

“Do you know the difference between education and experience? Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don’t.” Pete Seeger.

Travels With Maggie

After leaving Lake Arrowhead, I stopped in Wichita Falls to see the world’s smallest skyscraper. That’s right. I said smallest. Not everything is Texas-sized in the Lone Star State.

The mini-brick building was constructed in 1920 with $200,000 that eager investors poured into the proposed skyscraper after seeing its plans. Thinking more of future profits than the construction project, the backers failed to notice a major flaw. .

Those architectural plans, as presented to them by a Philadelphia scam artist, were drawn in inches instead of feet. The result was a four-story, 10-foot by 16-foot building one-twelfth the size expected. And the investors had no legal recourse because they had signed the plans.

Well, except they did get back the cost of the proposed elevator, which never was put in. The only original access to the top three floors was a ladder.

Someone later added rough wooden steps to the fourth floor, and I climbed them with permission of owners of the Artifact Emporium, which is now attached to the skyscraper. You can access the skyscraper through their store, and they say they get many visitors daily who do just that.

Looking out at the city from the top floor, I thought about all the times I had signed papers without thoroughly reading the fine print. I think I’ll be more careful about doing that in the future.

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