Audio: “The Lincoln Tower” featuring Tom Castaldi. Courtesy of WBNI-Fort Wayne.
Lincoln Tower was Indiana’s first skyscraper,home of the Lincoln Bank, originally founded by Theodore Wentz and Samuel Foster on May 20, 1905 as the German-American Bank. Lincoln Tower has 22 stories and is 312 feet high. Inside the main entrance are seven bronze panels that depict scenes from Abraham Lincoln’s life. The main banking lobby is 85 feet wide, 110 feet long, and two stories high. Inside the lobby are two murals that symbolize elements of nature and signs of the zodiac that are depicted on the lobby’s ceiling. Building materials that were used in the construction of the main lobby are Milford granite, Italian travertine marble, hand wrought bronze, Vermont marble, and Indiana limestone. The soda fountain in the snack shop is the original fountain and is still in use today. The murals inside the Lincoln Tower were done by Glenn M. Shaw who worked for a year in preparing the artwork seen on the bank’s walls and ceiling. Shaw described his murals as follows:
The allegory represented in the decoration in the Lincoln National Bank and Trust Company of Fort Wayne refers to the energizing properties of the sun. The sun is represented by the gold disk in the center of the ceiling decoration (representing the course of energy) surrounded by the signs of the zodiac. The flame design and the long golden rays, terminating with hands, refer to the radiating energy of the sun, this being an ancient Egyptian symbol, while the cloud forms represent the nebulae of the heavens.
The panel (lunet form) opposite the entry is entitled “The Reception of Energy” and is symbolized by the central female figure. She symbolizes the fecundity of the earth and is identified by the triangle, or “Delta,” character above her head, which refers to the female principle in nature. She is surrounded by the natural resources of nature: at the right, Agriculture and Stock; at the left, Fisheries, Mining, and Water Power.
The two sculptural figures super-imposed on this panel represent “Spring,” at the left, and “Summer,” at the right.
The panel at the opposite end of the room is entitled “The diffusion of Energy” and is symbolized by the central male figure. The symbol above his head is the “Cruxansala” and indicates the male principle in nature. At the right is “Commerce” with the globe and winged caduceus; behind her is “Science” with a retort; above him is “Labor” with sledge and anvil; and behind him is “Justice” with palm.
The figures at the left are: “Music” with lyre; “Education,” the old man with scroll and boy looking on; and “Architecture” holding an ionic capital in his hands.
The two sculptural figures super-imposed on this panel represent “Fall,” at the left, and “Winter,” at the right.
Photos courtesy of Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society and Google.com
- From the files of ARCH Inc.