Rockefeller Center History

Rockefeller Center History NYC

Rockefeller Center Facts for Kids

Rockefeller Center is one of the most popular attractions in NYC. But what, really, do you know about it? Who was John D. Rockefeller? How much does the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree weigh? These are the questions that are bound to pass through your head when you visit this famous NYC attraction. Now's the time to answer them. Learn all about the history of Rockefeller Center with our easy-to-read, kid-friendly guide.

Rockefeller Center Facts for Kids:

  • Construction Started: May 17, 1930.
  • Construction Completed: November 1, 1933.
  • Rockefeller Center Size in Acres: 22 acres.
  • Rockefeller Center Size in Feet: 8,000,000 sq. ft.
  • Architectural Style: Modern/Art Deco.
  • Number of Buildings in Rockefeller Center: 19.
  • Added to National Register of Historic Places: December 23, 1987.
  • Designated National Historic Landmark: December 23, 1987.
  • Rockefeller Center Address: West 49th St. & 5th Ave., New York, NY 10020.

To learn more about Rockefeller Center, check out our Rockefeller Center NYC page. There you'll find more facts, nearby hotels, and pictures of Rockefeller Center.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Facts for Kids

  • Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Height: The Rockefeller Center tree is required to be a minimum of 65 ft. tall and 35 ft. wide, though they're preferred to be between 75 and 90 ft. tall.
  • Type of Tree: The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is almost always a Norway spruce.
  • Number of Lights on Rockefeller Center Tree: The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is decorated with 30,000 environmentally-friendly lights along five miles of wire.
  • Size of Star: The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree star is 9.5 ft. wide and weighs 550 lbs. It was designed by German artist Michael Hammers.
  • What Was the Tallest Tree? The tallest Rockefeller Center Christmas tree stood 100 ft. tall.
  • When Did the Tradition Begin? The first Rockefeller Center Christmas tree was decorated in 1931, when construction workers erected a 20-ft. balsam fir tree. The tradition began in earnest in 1933.
  • What Happens to the Tree after Christmas? When the Christmas season is over, the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is recycled and three tons of mulch are donated to the Boy Scouts of America. A portion of the tree is also donated to the United States Equestrian Team in New Jersey for obstacle jumping.

For more information about the Rockefeller Center tree lighting, visit our Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting page!

Rockefeller Center History for Kids

Rockefeller Center NYC is a complex of 19 buildings located in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. It is named for John D. Rockefeller, Jr., the son of philanthropic oil magnate John D. Rockefeller. Occupying an astounding 8,000,000 square feet (22 acres) between 48th and 51st Streets, Rockefeller Center NY is home to the GE Building (formerly the RCA Building; often called "30 Rock" on account of its address at 30 Rockefeller Plaza), One Rockefeller Plaza (formerly the Time-Life Building), and Radio City Music Hall (located at 1260 Avenue of the Americas).

Rockefeller Center got its start in 1928, when John D. Rockefeller, Jr., leased the space from Columbia University. While he had originally planned to build the complex with the help of the Metropolitan, Rockefeller was forced to finance the project himself after the stock market crash of 1929. At the time of construction, the complex was the largest private building project of modern times. Construction began on May 17, 1930 and ended on November 1, 1933.

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