The Mutual Reserve Fund Life Association Building, also known as the Langdon Building, is a tower block located at 305 Broadway in Manhattan, New York City. The building was built between 1892–94 and was designed by William H. Hume in the Romanesque Revival architecture style in the Richardson mode.
The structure was one of the first in New York City to use a cage-like steel frame structure, an early version of the skyscraper. The building was designated a New York City landmark on December 20, 2011
The Mutual Reserve Building was constructed on land owned by shipping tycoon and real estate investor William Fletcher Weld. Following his death, his four grandchildren sought to develop an office building on the land, which at the time was home to several one-story buildings. Weld's estate purchased the property in 1888, and began to develop the building in conjunction with the mutual Reserve Fund Life Association, who was to be headquartered in the building.
Construction began in 1892. Dedication ceremonies were held on June 14, 1894; but the building was not officially completed until September. According to the New-York Tribune, the final construction costs had risen to “about $1,200,000.”
The Mutual Reserve Fund Life Association took the second through fifth floors. Advertisements for office space on other floors touted the building’s being “absolutely fireproof.” Early advertisements also touted a barber shop, cigar stand, ticket office, telegraph and telephone offices.
Upon the bankruptcy of the Mutual Reserve Fund Life Association in 1909, the building became known as the Langdon Building in 1910. The building was most likely named after the owner’s son, the stock broker John Langdon Brandegee. In 1923, architects were commissioned to remove the central arched entrance on Broadway. Subsequently, the remaining arched entrance was converted to a less dramatic squared-off opening.
The building was the first headquarters of the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission from 1967 to 1980.