— March 17, 1930: Construction of the building on Fifth Avenue and 34th Street begins.
— May 1, 1931: President Hoover presses a button in Washington to turn on the lights as the 102-story, 1,250-foot skyscraper opens.
— 1933: The original "King Kong" movie debuts, showing a giant ape clutching actress Fay Wray and fending off airplanes atop the building.
— July 28, 1945: A B-25 bomber crashes into the 79th floor, killing 14 people.
— December 1947: Suicide guards are hired to work the 86th floor observation deck.
— 1972: The World Trade Center Towers, at 110 stories each, surpass the Empire State Building as the tallest building in New York.
— May 18, 1981: The building is granted landmark status by New York City.
— 1986: The building is recognized as a national landmark.
— Feb. 23, 1997: Gunman kills one and injures six before committing suicide on 86th floor.
— Sept. 11, 2001: The building is again the tallest in New York following terror attacks that destroy the World Trade Center towers.
— 2009: The building's owners embark on a $550 million renovation aimed at making it more environmentally friendly and energy-efficient.
— February 2012: The building's owners announce it will go public in a stock offering that could raise $1 billion.
— April 30, 2012: The building loses its status as the tallest building in New York as One World Trade Center, which is still under construction, reaches just over 1,250 feet.