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Lincoln American Tower

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Title: Lincoln American Tower  
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Subject: Timeline of Memphis, Tennessee, Memphis, Tennessee, List of tallest buildings in Memphis, Memphis metropolitan area, Sherwood Forest, Memphis
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Lincoln American Tower

Columbian Mutual Tower
Lincoln American Tower
Location 60 N. Main St., Memphis, Tennessee
Built 1924
Architect Boyer & Baum; Issac Albert Baum
Architectural style Late Gothic Revival, Commercial Gothic
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 78002631[1]
Added to NRHP July 24, 1978
Lincoln American Tower
General information
Location Memphis, Tennessee
Completed 1924
Top floor 290 feet (88 m)
Technical details
Floor count 22
Floor area 85,500 square feet (7,940 m2)
Design and construction
Architect Boyer & Baum

The Lincoln American Tower is a 22-story building located at the corner of North Main and Court streets in Memphis, Tennessee. It is also a historical landmark, one of the first steel frame skyscrapers built in Memphis. The tower underwent a six-year refurbishing project starting in 2002, and despite a fire in 2006, is now open and accepting tenants.

The building currently features 31 residential apartments, 3 floors of commercial offices, and New York-based Ceriello Fine Foods on the ground floor.


The site itself has a unique history, as it is located near the location of Irving Block Prison, which was on the north side of Court Square, which was used by the Union Army to house Confederate sympathizers during the Civil War. Freeing prisoners from Irving Block Prison was one of the three major objectives of Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest's raid in the Second Battle of Memphis.

In 1924, the president of the Memphis branch of the Columbia Mutual Insurance Company (later renamed to the Lincoln American Insurance Company), Lloyd Binford, had the gleaming white tower built overlooking Court Square. Binford later made an infamous name for himself across the country as head of the Memphis Censor Board, which he ran from his own offices on the top floor of the building.[4]

The Lincoln American Tower was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

On October 6, 2006, the building was damaged by fire after embers from a major fire at the nearby First United Methodist Church were carried several blocks by strong winds. The result lit the top few floors of the building on fire, including the roof, and filled much of downtown Memphis with smoke. The nearby Court Annex building was destroyed in the same fire.

Despite the fire, the renovation of the building continued, and the first tenants in 2008 were the Plough Foundation, who leased 4,358 square feet (404.9 m2) of space in the building.[5]


The tower is a replica of New York's Woolworth Building, at one-third scale.[5]

See also


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places.  
  2. ^ Court Square Center Webpage
  3. ^ Emporis Listing
  4. ^ "Infamous Memphis Censor Built Lincoln American Tower". Memphis Flyer (Memphis, Tennessee). 2006-10-20. Retrieved 2008-09-22. 
  5. ^ a b Ashby, Andy (2008-05-16). "Lincoln American lands first tenants". Memphis Business Journal (Memphis, Tennessee). Retrieved 2008-09-22. 
Preceded by
Exchange Building
Tallest Building in Memphis
1924 - 1930
Succeeded by
Sterick Building
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