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W Minneapolis - The Foshay


W Minneapolis - The Foshay
Foshay Tower


Structure in General

existing [completed]
applied masonry
light brown
art deco


restaurant bar conferencing space mercantile parking


  • The Foshay Tower was the first major building in the USA to be built by an all-Union Contracting team and the first to receive patents from the US Patent Office for its design and construction.
  • This is the most prominent obelisk-shaped skyscraper in the world.
  • The design was inspired by the Washington Monument in Washington, DC. It is set 60 feet back from the street, surrounded on three sides by a two-story base, and faced with Indiana limestone.
  • The tower measures 81 by 87 feet at the base, narrowing to 59 by 65 feet at the top.
  • Before conversion to a hotel,the building featured a small museum on the 31st floor. The observation deck is reached by climbing an additional flight of stairs.
  • Original owner Wilbur Foshay commissioned John Philip Sousa to write the "Foshay Tower George Washington Memorial March" for the tower's grand opening. In response, Sousa renamed a previously-written march.
  • Tallest building in Minneapolis from 1929-1971, when surpassed by the IDS Tower.
  • Foshay's fortunes quickly turned and his $20,000 check to Sousa bounced just one month later. Sousa forbade use of the march until a group of Minneapolis citizens raised the funds to pay the commission a few years later.
  • An original Houdon bust of George Washington once graced the lobby, which is designed with wrought iron, marble, and bronze.
  • The "FOSHAY" Letters are 10 feet high and lit by 976 60-watt bulbs at night.
  • The Foshay Tower has 750 windows.
  • The Foshay Tower was designed as the headquarters of a public utility empire which went into receivership -- with prosecution of the promoters, including namesake Wilbur Foshay -- soon after elaborate dedication ceremonies on Aug 30-Sept 1, 1929.
  • The Rand Tower was built at approximately the same time, also by a family which had built a utility empire.
  • Inducted to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.
  • Sousa brought his band to Minneapolis for the dedication festivities, performing the march at the tower and elsewhere.
  • New owners were announced in September 2005, and a plan to convert to the former office tower to a hotel was made public in June 2006. The W Minneapolis - The Foshay opened on August 13, 2008.
  • The building is connected at ground level and by skyway to the TCF Tower.
  • Since the observation floor on the IDS Tower closed in the mid 1990s, this is the only public observation deck in Minneapolis.

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More Information


821-837 Marquette Avenue
100-116 9th Street South
821 Marquette Avenue
Downtown West

Technical Data

608.01 ft
448.01 ft
448.01 ft

Involved Companies

developer, elevator consultant, facade installation, general contractor, interior designer, owner, structural engineering


general contractor

Features & Amenities

  • One of the city's famous buildings
  • City landmark
  • National landmark
  • Observation deck on roof
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