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Date Built: 1929
The first major property erected on the site of the Pigott Building was the (first) Canada Life Assurance Building erected in 1852. When Canada Life moved across James Street in 1927, the "Commerce Centre", as it was known, was razed to make way for the Pigott Building, which opened in 1929.
This 18-storey structure, Hamilton's first steel-skeleton skyscraper, was erected at a cost of $1,000,000. Combining Art-Deco and Gothic-Revival elements, the building incorporated glass from Belgium, window frames from England, and interior decoration in marble, tile, and murals painted by church decorators of events related to building of the skyscraper. In true "Gotham"-style, there were, atop the roof, rotating searchlights that revolved every 30 seconds.
The building remained a thriving commercial office development until the 1970's, when the downtown economy began to wane. During the next decade the skyscraper was sold and resold several times for a variety of projects, but all fell through. Fortunately, it was designated as being of heritage interest in 1984. Unfortunately, by that time the stained glass windows, the brass doors, and much of the fancy woodwork had disappeared. Fortunately, the windows were recovered from a local antique shop at a cost of $12,000, and re-installed.
Written by: Bill Manson
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