INSIDE LOOK: High tech lights bring new life to 90-year-old Lincoln Tower


FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – In a tradition that began 18 year ago to show American pride in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the top of the Lincoln Tower glows colors fitting several occasions each year.

Wednesday night, the lights along the top five floors of the 90-year-old tower shone red, white and blue on the side of the building and into the sky. They’re programmed that way with a computer, unlike in 2001, when workers for Tippmann Properties, the building’s owner, physically painted the accent spotlights.

Following the attacks on September 11, 2001, workers from Tippmann Properties painted the accent spotlights red and blue and spelled “USA” with the candle lights used during the holidays.

Beginning in 2017, a new lighting system was installed at the top of the building. The system included 33 LED color-changing lights that light up the building and four LED fixtures that focus only on the flag at the top of the building.

33 color-changing LED lights are placed around the top five floors of the Lincoln Tower. This view shows the north side of the building looking down from the 23rd floor observation deck.

The lights are programmed with a computer from any location. Special software allows the maintenance team to individually pick what color each light displays and for how long that color remains lit. Since the installation of the lights, more than 20 color combinations have been programmed into the system, which can be changed at a moment’s notice.

The lights can now be programmed from any location. Each light can be selected through computer software and the color can be set by the maintenance team.

The lighting isn’t just a sign of patriotism on September 11 anymore. The colors have been designed to mark special occasions like Independence Day, Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day, Valentine’s Day and TinCaps games.

Organizations from around the Summit City have also reached out to the owners of the building requesting certain colors on certain days, much like what is seen in New York at the Empire State Building.

One of 33 color-changing LED lights sits atop the north side of the Lincoln Tower.

Josh Witte, the facilities manager, told WANE 15 he keeps in touch with people who control exterior lighting at several Fort Wayne buildings to see if their colors can match or offer suggestions to each other.

“We’re extremely proud of it,” Witte said. “This is a historic building. When you think of Fort Wayne, you think of Lincoln Tower. To see it on the news every single night, it’s just really cool.”

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