Kaden Tower stands tall and proudly isolated on the outskirts of Louisville, which may be the perfect setting for a building famous for polarizing the local design community. Erected in 1966 for the Lincoln Income Life Insurance Company, the 15 story tower was unlike any skyscraper seen in the city before or since. With its cantilevered design and window grillwork reminiscent of a lace doily the Lincoln Tower quickly became an unforgettable part of the Louisville cityscape and (along with Gabe’s Tower in Owensboro) one of the few interesting mid century modern skyscrapers in the entire state.
The architecture may be love-it-or-hate-it, but the pedigree is undeniable. Falsely attributed by some to Frank Lloyd Wright, this building was actually designed by Wright’s son-in-law, William Wesley Peters. It is generally accepted, though, that Peters borrowed liberally from some similar Wright designs and with Wright as a mentor the influence is undeniable.
Wright was famous for his use of space and, again, his influence on Peters and this building can be seen in the blueprints. A central core replaced the more common steel girder construction seen on tall buildings and each floor is suspended off of this core. The end result is an open floor plan with minimal structural supports to break up the flow. This meant a maximum use of space and also allowed plenty of light to penetrate the interior. Further interior space was saved by using a glass external elevator. Well-landscaped grounds and a one story complementary building completed the project.
The reign of the Lincoln Tower came to an end in 1986. An acquisition by another firm led to a property sale, a new owner, and the current name – Kaden Tower. Easy to find at 6100 Dutchman’s Lane, this salmon beauty is well worth a visit.
Property Type: Commercial
Year Built: 1966
Sq. Footage: unknown