Foshay Tower: 92 years of downtown Minneapolis skyline views began in infamy – WCCO

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – For 40 years it was the tallest building in Minneapolis and over the decades a lot has changed at Foshay Tower.

“One of my favorite parts of the day is getting up to our observation deck and taking a quick tour and seeing how the city wakes up for the day,” said Trina Anthony of W Minneapolis, Foshay Tower.

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For 92 years, Foshay Tower has been at the forefront of Minneapolis sunrises and sunsets. And not just Minneapolis. From the 31st floor, the view knows no bounds.

“On a clear day you can see in all directions about 30 miles,” Anthony said.

This is the way creator Wilbur Foshay intended it to be. As a child, his father took him to see the Washington Monument and Foshay was fascinated. So when he made his fortune in public services, he decided to build a building using the same floor plan as the monument he loved. And because the Foshay tapers off like the Washington Monument, each floor you climb is 4 inches smaller than the one below.

“Construction of the Foshay Tower was completed in August 1929 and ended with a grand opening celebration on Labor Day weekend,” Anthony said.

Twenty-five thousand guests showed up for it – including politicians and even the Secretary of War. But for Foshay, the celebration was short-lived. The crash of the holiday was the stock market crash of ’29. This exposed Foshay’s misdeeds and he went to jail.

“The charges were mail fraud, but this was essentially the very first Ponzi scheme,” Anthony said.

These infamous early years are archived in the building museum, along with hundreds of other relics that have been here since day one. This includes John Philip Sousa’s march which was performed at the grand opening and was never replayed – because the check used to pay it was bounced.

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When Foshay closed, tenants like WCCO, General Motors and even the Norwegian Consulate moved in. Foshay was never able to live on the 28th floor he was going to call home. The 27th floor, which was supposed to be its official quarters, still has the original mahogany wood. But nowadays it’s more famous for happy hours.

“Now it’s our ‘speakeasy in the sky’ where you can come and have a cocktail,” said Anthony.

In addition to the Prohibition Bar, the W Hotel and Manny’s Steakhouse also occupy the tower. But sometimes visitors show up just because of the impression Foshay had on the city.

“People have come back to say my parents were engaged here on the observation deck. It brings a lot of families together, so it’s a great place, ”said Lakshmi Petrucci of W Minneapolis -Foshay Tower.

A skyscraper that helped create a skyline with 447 feet of Indiana limestone and Minnesota history.

“There is always a new corner or part of the hotel that I find fascinating,” said Anthony. “This is a great opportunity to be part of the history of our hotel. “

Foshay was eventually pardoned by President Harry Truman. Its building was the tallest in Minneapolis until 1972, when the IDS center was built. In January 1981, the building was wrapped in a yellow ribbon during the last days of the hostage crisis in Iran.

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Visit Explore Minnesota for more information on Foshay Museum and viewing platform.

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