Oak Tower

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Oak Tower
OakTower Kansas City Missouri.jpg
General information
Location324 East 11th Street, Kansas City, Missouri 64106
Coordinates39°06′04″N 94°34′44″W / 39.1012°N 94.5789°W / 39.1012; -94.5789Coordinates: 39°06′04″N 94°34′44″W / 39.1012°N 94.5789°W / 39.1012; -94.5789
Construction started1917
Renovated1928–1929 (addition, doubling the height)
Roof379 ft (116 m)
Technical details
Floor count28 (+2 below-grade)
Design and construction
ArchitectHoit, Price & Barnes/I.R. Timlin
Main contractorSwenson Construction Company

Oak Tower, also called the Bell Telephone Building, is a 28-story skyscraper in Downtown Kansas City, Missouri.

Hoit, Price & Barnes, a local firm that conceived many of Kansas City's landmark structures, designed the building in association with I.R. Timlin as the headquarters of the Bell Telephone Co.'s newly consolidated Southwestern System.

Ground was broken at Eleventh and Oak Streets in 1917, but due to shortages of manpower and materials during the First World War, construction was delayed and was not completed until 1920.[1] The new building served as Southwestern Bell's general headquarters for only a year before the company moved its main office to St. Louis.[2] Thereafter the tower served as the headquarters of Southwestern Bell's operations in Missouri.

The tower was originally 14 stories (185 feet), without any setbacks, but the fast-growing telephone company soon required more space. An addition completed in 1929 doubled the tower's height and made it the tallest building in Missouri until the Kansas City Power & Light Building surpassed it in 1931.[3][4]

Oak Tower's top half was built with Haydite, the first modern structural lightweight concrete, which had recently been invented and patented in Kansas City by Stephen J. Hayde. The tower's 1929 expansion was the first major project to use the new building material, and it allowed the addition of fourteen new stories, six more than would have been possible using conventional concrete.[5][6]

The building's contractor, Swenson Construction Co., also built several other landmark Kansas City buildings including the Kansas City Power & Light Building, 909 Walnut, Jackson County Courthouse, Kansas City City Hall, Kansas City Live Stock Exchange and the Western Auto Building.[7]

On January 11, 1965, during a snowstorm, a single-engine airplane crashed into the 28th story of the building at the corner facing Oak Street and 11th Street, killing all four people on board.[8]

Oak Tower's original terra-cotta facade was covered in white stucco when it was sold in 1974.

Data center[edit]

Today Oak Tower is one of the key fiber transit buildings for Kansas City and houses a 9,000-square-foot (840 m2) Tier II data center.[9] In 2013, the colocation data center is operated by Netsolus and is carrier neutral.[10] In September 2018, the Tier II data center, operated by Netsolus, is 11,000-square-foot (1,000 m2) and is home to several key transit and telecommunications providers including Cogent, Verizon, and Zayo.[11] Netsolus also operates data centers in Phoenix, Denver, and Omaha.[9][10][12][13] Founded in 2000, Netsolus is located in Oak Tower at Suite 1640.[12][14]


  1. ^ Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library - Retrieved 31 March 2011
  2. ^ International Directory of Company Histories. Thomson Gale. 1992.
  3. ^ Oak Tower Building - Emporis.com - Retrieved January 9, 2008
  4. ^ Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library - Retrieved 31 March 2011
  5. ^ - Buildex & Haydite History - Retrieved 31 March 2011
  6. ^ Lightweight Concrete: History, Applications, Economics (PDF). Expanded Shale, Clay and Slate Institute. 1971.
  7. ^ Swenson Construction Company - Emporis.com - Retrieved January 9, 2008
  8. ^ "Plane Hits Skyscraper, 4 Die", Chicago Tribune, January 12, 1964, p1
  9. ^ a b "10-J: The Data Trust Company Data Center inside Oak Tower". Netsolus Data Centers: 10-J Managed Services. 2011. Archived from the original on September 5, 2010. Retrieved September 11, 2018.
  10. ^ a b "Data Center Map: Netsolus". datacentermap.com website. Retrieved September 11, 2018.
  11. ^ "Netsolus: Kansas City Data Center". Netsolus.com website. Retrieved September 11, 2018.
  12. ^ a b "Netsolus: Datacenters". Netsolus.com website. Retrieved September 11, 2018.
  13. ^ "Data Centers in North America". cloudscene.com website. Retrieved September 11, 2018.
  14. ^ "Netsolus Kansas City data center". cloudscene.com website. Retrieved September 11, 2018.