Old Mutual Life Building


The Old Mutual Life Building was an early skyscraper in the City of New York, located on the corner of Broadway and Liberty Street. The site is now occupied by the 140 Broadway, a 51 story tower, completed in 1968.

The building's name derives from The Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York, opened in 1843. The name "Mutual Life Building" appears, for example, in the King’s Handbook of New York City, published in 1892, with the photo on the right. In the book, the building was a reference (146 Broadway) for the American-Fire Insurance Company. However, other publications gave other names to the same building, including The Safe Deposit Company, the Title Guarantee & Trust Company and American Bank Note Company. According to A Pictorial Description of Broadway (1899), the building included the numbers 140, 142, 144 and 146.

The Old Mutual Life Building was possibly completed in 1872. It appears in an 1872 print by Augustus F. Kinnersley titled "A glimpse of New York from Trinity Church steeple". It also appears in the 1873 illustration of New York by George Schlegel. The Building was seven stories high plus the clock tower. It was heavily built with three safe-deposit vaults in its interior. It was  considered to be absolutely fire-proof, entirely of bricks, the brick walls of its two fronts overlaid with white marble. Judging from panoramic images of NY, it could be taller than the old Equitable Building, considered by many to be the first skyscraper in New York, completed in 1870 and the largest office building in New York City until the late 19th century.

In 1891, The Guaranty & Trust Company was reorganized under the auspices of the Mutual Life Insurance Company.

In 1897, it was completed a new head office building for The Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York, in Nassau, Cedar and Liberty Streets.

The Old Mutual Life Building was demolished in 1911 to make way for a new building of the Guaranty Trust Company of New York. The new building, designed by York & Sawyer, was completed in 1912. In 1959, The Guaranty Trust merged with J.P. Morgan.

Another Mutual Life Building was erected on 1740 Broadway, completed in 1950 (today, owned by EQ Office). Later, The Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York became Mutual of New York (MONY) and now it is part of AXA, a French multinational insurance firm.


Mutual Life Building NY


Antique photos of NYC









NYC Skyscrapers


Old Mutual Life Building


The Mutual Life Building, photograph published in the King’s Handbook of New York City, 1892.


The Mutual Life Building in a poster by James R. Osgood & Co., Boston, 1876.


Equitable building old


The Mutual Life Building and the Equitable Building in a fragment of the 1875 illustration of New York City by Charles Parsons.


New York Buildings


Mutual Life building


The Mutual Life Building from Both Sides of Broadway from Bowling Green to Central Park, 1910. The Mutual Life occupied the third floor. Original title: Broadway, at Liberty Street. Franklin Trust Co. - Lehigh Valley R.R. - Emerson Shoe - Weber & Heilbronner, Haberdashers.


The Mutual Life Building as it appeared in The Banker's Almanac, published in 1874 and referred as "American Bank Note Company, 142 Broadway New York ".


Old New York


Old Mutual Life Building


The Mutual Life Building was a big building in the 1870s. By 1900, it was relatively small and only its clock tower could be seen in this skyline of New York.


The Mutual Life Building, the Equitable Building and Trinity Church on Broadway in a fragment of the 1874 illustration of New York City by J. Bachmann.


Copyright © Geographic Guide - Old photos of NYC.


American Bank Note Company


Early skyscraper


New York 1900



Photo around 1895-1900.




Historic Buildings