Find a Member:

1953 Horatio Alger Award Winner

Henry Crown*

Empire State Building and Material Service Corporation

"Be honest, work hard, and develop your personality."

Henry Crown was born in Chicago in 1896. After being fired from his job as a shipping clerk for dispatching a load of sand instead of gravel, Henry Crown and his brothers, S. R. and Irving, founded a material supply firm in 1919, which they steadily built into the Material Service Corporation-one of the country's leading construction companies. At the age of 45, Crown served in the Army Corps of Engineers during World War II. Upon his return, Colonel Crown began to diversify his business interests, which included defense contracting, mining, farming, trucking, and recreation. His company was part owner of the Chicago Bulls and the New York Yankees. He had a significant stake in General Dynamics, ALLTEL, Crown Theaters, and real estate-including the purchase of the Empire State Building in 1951 for $51.5 million. He built Henry Crown and Company into one of the leading investment groups in the nation.

* Deceased