Deco Lincoln?

The Lincoln Tower

One of 7 bronze panels of Lincoln

Clearly I haven't explored downtown Fort Wayne enough. This is what I learned from a recent trip to the old fort city last week when I managed a very brief walking tour of about 2 blocks of their downtown. The biggest treat for me, even though I had an abbreviated tour of their old City Hall building turned historical society, was the Lincoln Tower on Berry Street.

Lobby with "frozen fountain"

Interiors of banking lobby

Construction began in October of 1929. Does that ring any bells? It was completed a year later at the cost of $1.3 million. Called the Lincoln Tower, the building has amazing bronze panels depicting the life of President Lincoln. This building is Art Deco at its finest and seeing Lincoln in Deco-esque is an interesting treat indeed. The interior of the lobby included the frozen fountain and Deco-inspired lotus flowers that are a standard of the style. The main banking lobby is a cathedral itself with tall, light accentuated ribbing two stories in height and fantastic murals at each end. The space was one of the most inspiring indoor rooms I have experienced in Indiana. The building, when constructed, was the tallest building in Indiana.

Allen County Courthouse (above)
Anthony Wayne Building (below)

Other inspiring buildings in downtown Ft. Wayne include the Allen County Courthouse, a National Historic Landmark, the Anthony Wayne Building (Jetson-esque), and the old City Hall, designed by Wing & Mahurin (a Ft. Wayne architectural firm famous throughout the Hoosier state for schools, courthouses and county asylums). I included the photo of the old city hall's dedication plaque because it is clear from the letter styling that the Art Nouveau movement was coming to the surface in Indiana when the building was constructed, even though the building itself does not represent the style. The way in which the letters are carved organically inter-twined over the entry also recalls the style.


jimgrey said…
Wow, those are some great details you captured there. I've never been a big Fort Wayne fan, not sure why, but maybe I need to open my mind a little more.

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