Lincoln Leveque Tower

A true landmark in Columbus since it opened, LeVeque Tower is still probably the city’s best-known skyscraper. At forty-four stories, it was Ohio’s tallest and the world’s fifth-tallest building at the time of its construction; pilots dubbed it the “first aerial lighthouse.” It remained the loftiest building in town until 1974, when the Rhodes State Office Tower was completed. The LeVeque Tower also includes the Palace Theatre, one of downtown’s three surviving historic theaters.  The exterior of the tower is clad in white “oak bark” terra-cotta molded into

textured blocks resembling cut stone. Ornate terra-cotta sculptures and basreliefs give the building a lively facade with considerable detail. Note the eagles atop the wide pilasters flanking the entrances; they have wingspans of twenty feet. From a distance the exterior surface looks flat and smooth, accentuating the height of the tower. Up close, however, the terra-cotta facade’s medallions, garlands, and crests become visible and you can see how complex the surface really is.

The office building is composed of a tall tower at the southwest corner flanked by two eighteen-story wings. The Palace Theatre is entered from Broad Street, and its 2,827-seat auditorium fills the northeast quadrant of the building.  The Palace was designed as a vaudeville house and movie theater. Its interior is decorated with classically inspired details. The entrance lobby, sweeping central staircase, and large auditorium establish the character of this grand early twentieth-century theater. The Columbus Association for the Performing Arts, which also owns the Ohio Theatre, acquired the Palace in 1989.