Bok Tower

Lake Wales, FL

Bok Tower, also known as the Bok Singing Tower, is the architectural centerpiece of Historic Bok Sanctuary. The sanctuary was conceived and funded by publisher and author Edward W. Bok to preserve the beauty, serenity and peace of the hilltop where he enjoyed taking evening walks. The gardens of the sanctuary were designed by Frederic Law Olmsted, Jr. The tower was designed in 1926 by Milton B. Medary, a Philadelphia architect, and includes decorative ironwork by Samuel Yellin, carved stone designed by Lee Lawrie and tilework fabricated by J.H. Dulles Allen of the Enfield Pottery and Tile Works. Construction of the Tower began in 1927 and the tower was dedicated in February 1929.

Bok Tower incorporates Gothic elements, such as pointed arch openings and tall corner buttresses, and Art Deco touches, such as the polychrome tile panels filling the openings and geometric parapet carvings. In plan, the 203-foot tall tower is square at the base and transitions to an octagonal tower at an elevation of 142 feet above grade. The tower is a steel frame structure clad in marble and coquina stone. Gray Creole marble from Georgia is used at the base of the tower. Pink Etowah marble, also from Georgia, is used for the decorative carving, quoining, buttresses and masonry at the surrounds of the panel openings. Florida Coquina stone carved into ashlar blocks and set in random coursing comprises most of the cladding at the square-plan portion of the tower. One of the characteristic elements of the tower are the decorative tile panels. The tiles are set in deep cast iron frames filled with concrete to create scenes of nature including birds, sea life and trees.

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Scope of work

  • Performed a conditions survey of the tiled panels, cast iron frames, stone cladding and other exterior materials.
  • Provided graphical and video documentation of existing conditions, including video hyperlinked to AutoCAD drawings and high-definition overall video.

Original architect

  • Milton B. Medary (completed 1929)

Building owner

  • Historic Bok Sanctuary

In collaboration with