If you’re from Columbus, or even if you’ve just driven by downtown, you’ve probably noticed the star of the skyline: the LeVeque Tower. With its distinctive art deco façade, LeVeque Tower hearkens back to a booming era of Columbus’ history – a history we’ve woven into the fabric of the Hotel LeVeque experience. Read on to learn more about our stunning historic hotel located in the heart of Columbus.
“An honest piece of magnificent construction”
Before it was the hotel as we know it today, the LeVeque Tower opened its doors in 1927 as the American Insurance Union Citadel, named for the financial institution that bankrolled the building. The complex, which included a 47-story tower and two 18-story wings, was part of a post-World War I building boom throughout Columbus that included, among other notable landmarks, Ohio Stadium. The Citadel stood 555 ½ feet – exactly a half-foot taller than the Washington Monument – and was, at the time, the fifth-tallest building in the world.
But the Citadel’s size wasn’t its only impressive quality. Its art deco style caught the eye of architects across the country. Dudley Crafts Watson, director of the Art Institute of Chicago at the time, called the Citadel the “most original of American skyscrapers” and “an honest piece of magnificent construction.” Even though it was surpassed as Columbus’ tallest building by the Rhodes State Office Tower in 1974 and has since been joined in the skyline by several other skyscrapers, it’s still one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks.
An anchor for downtown Columbus
The Citadel’s Towers and Wings were designed as an early form of mixed-use development. In addition to office space for the American Insurance Union, the original tower also housed extra hotel rooms for the neighboring Deshler Hotel, the historic Palace Theatre, and several radio stations seeking to boost their power thanks to antennae placed at the top of the tower.
After the Great Depression, though, the American Insurance Union went bankrupt. Columbus real estate investor, Leslie LeVeque, joined a Cleveland businessman, John Lincoln, in purchasing the Citadel for $800,000, and the duo renamed it the LeVeque-Lincoln Tower. LeVeque’s son, Fred, took over after his father’s death. After Fred died in a 1975 plane crash, his wife, Katherine, purchased the tower from a trust.
Instead of selling the property, as many expected her to, Katherine LeVeque reinvested millions in the aging tower, which was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. She also committed to restoring the adjoining Palace Theatre, which had been slated for demolition in the late 1970s. The renovations kept the newly named LeVeque Tower competitive for tenants with the many new buildings being constructed throughout Columbus. Over the next three decades, LeVeque Tower served as the home for several Ohio state agencies.
Today’s LeVeque Tower
In 2011, Katherine LeVeque and her company decided to sell the property to Tower 10 LLC, Kaufman Development and First Hospitality. The companies spent several years transforming the tower and its wings into apartments, condominiums, and office space while keeping the building’s heritage at the forefront. In 2017, the spectacular Hotel LeVeque, a member of Marriott International’s Autograph Collection, opened in the tower.
Visitors can get a taste of LeVeque Tower’s rich history the minute you walk into the lobby, which blends original architectural features such as marble and bronze with contemporary design. In the evening, visitors and the community can walk outside and admire this architectural masterpiece thanks to hundreds of computer-controlled LED lights that illuminate the tower’s ornate design.
If you’re planning a weekend getaway, a corporate retreat, or an elegant wedding that blends Columbus’ rich history with the best of today’s amenities, Hotel LeVeque is waiting for you. Contact us today to learn more.