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W Minneapolis - The Foshay

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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

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Features & Amenities

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