The confidence man has to be one of the oldest “professions” in existence as there are many ways to trick gullible and even not-so-gullible people out of their hard-earned money. One con job that elicits feelings of anger, as well as laughter, has to that of the new perpetrated on the investors in the Newby-McMahon Building, aka the World’s Littlest Skyscraper.

As legend has it, the origins of the Newby-McMahon Building are hilariously frustrating as one can imagine. In 1919, an oil construction structural engineer from Philadelphia, PA named J.D. McMahon started looking for investors to sell on his latest endeavor — a 480 feet tall office building in the newly bustling oil town of Wichita Falls, Texas. At this time in history, the idea of a “skyscraper” was even more novel as not many had yet been constructed. Impressed by the plans, investors helped fund McMahon’s project to the tune of around $200,000 — around $2.7 million in today’s value.

As construction of the Newby-McMahon Building began, the investors began to realize something odd about the structure. The building was only about 9 feet wide, 12 feet long, and 40 feet tall. A stairwell took up a good quarter the usable space for each of the four floors without even enough space for an elevator. Outraged, the investors looked back at the plans for the building which showed them that they had agreed to fund the construction of a building that was 480 inches tall, not 480 feet tall. The investors angrily took McMahon to court over the matter, but a judge dismissed their case, citing that they had indeed agreed to fund the construction of a 480” structure and not a 480’ structure. McMahon left the state and the building has stood as a monument to gullibility ever since. The Newby-McMahon Building is currently protected as a historical landmark and has remained a tourist attraction.