GRP016-01.jpg (53363 bytes) New York Architecture Images-Gramercy Park

Western Union Telegraph Building


George B Post


186 Fifth Ave.






brick, terracotta


Office Building






This giant turreted building located at Broadway and Dey Street was built by George P. Post in 1872-5. Its height of 230 feet was made possible by the recent invention of the passenger elevator. 100 telegraph operators worked in this building which was open 24 hours a day and lit by night. Its tower was an important landmark for mariners in New York Harbor. Here it dwarfs its neighbor, the Goodyear Rubber Goods building. It later burnt down, and was the first major fire in a high-rise building in New York.
  The legacy of Western Union is as a telegraph company-sending messages to millions of people worldwide. Now primarily a financial services provider, the company continues to build upon its diverse 150-year history.

A group of businessmen in Rochester, New York form The New York and Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company, Western Union's predecessor company.

The New York and Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company changes its name to The Western Union Telegraph Company, signifying the union of "western" telegraph lines with eastern lines into one system, following acquisition of a series of competing telegraph systems.

Western Union completes the first transcontinental telegraph line, providing fast, coast-to-coast communications during the U.S. Civil War.

Western Union introduces the first stock ticker, providing brokerage firms with New York Stock Exchange quotations.

Western Union launches a time service, helping to standardize time nationally. Western Union will hold the distinction as "The Nation's Timekeeper" for nearly a century. 

Western Union Money Transfer® service was introduced and became the company's primary business.

Western Union is selected as one of the original 11 stocks tracked in the first Dow Jones Average.

Western Union introduces the first consumer charge card.

Western Union introduces teletypewriters, joining branches and individual companies.

Singing telegrams are introduced.

The first inter-city facsimile service is introduced.

Pioneered the first commercial inter-city microwave system.

Western Union introduces Telex, a direct-dial consumer to consumer teleprinter service.

Western Union inaugurates the use of a transcontinental microwave radio beam system, replacing poles and wires spanning the continent. 

Western Union Mailgram messages offer next-day delivery via postal service.

Western Union launches Westar I, the first domestic communications satellite for America.

Western Union is the first company with five satellites in orbit.

Quick Collect® provides creditors a service for securing fast collection of payments via flat-rate Money Transfers.

Rapid Money Transfer service becomes available outside North America.

Western Union Money Order service provides customers with a fast, easy way to get money orders.

Dinero en Minutos® (Money in Minutessm) service is introduced, making funds sent to Mexico from the U.S. available in just minutes. 

The Western Union Phone Card service is the first branded, pre-paid and disposable telephone card offered in the U.S.

First Financial Management Corporation acquires Western Union Financial Services, Inc.

First Financial Management Corporation completes a $7 billion merger with First Data Corporation (NYSE: FDC). Western Union Financial Services, Inc. becomes a First Data Corporation subsidiary.

Western Union opens its North America headquarters in Englewood, CO, and maintains its International and Commercial Services headquarters in Paramus, NJ. International presence continues to expand with new regional offices in Paris, Vienna and Hong Kong.

The Western Union Money Transfer service expands to reach 50,000 Agent locations worldwide, the world's largest money transfer network. International Regional Operating Centers open in Brussels and Costa Rica.

By the end of the year, there are more than 80,000 Western Union Agent locations in over 140 countries and territories around the globe.

Western Union launches, bringing the convenience of money transfer to the Internet.

Western Union celebrates its 150-year anniversary by reaching more than 100,000 Agent locations worldwide.