Friday, October 18, 2013

The Foshay Tower

The Foshay Tower by William 74
The Foshay Tower, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.
Completed in 1929, the Foshay Tower in downtown Minneapolis is an excellent Art Deco skyscraper. Long the tallest building in the city, the Foshay has a few interesting details. Most obvious are the large letters at the top of the building calling out the name, which are also illuminated at night (and visible from quite a ways out of the city). The outer walls also slope in as they rise,
making each floor a little smaller than the one below it, a function of the architect's desire to make the Foshay Tower resemble the Washington Monument. The interior was very luxurious, featuring intricately carved African mahogany, marble, Terrazzo, a silver and gold plated ceiling, and hand-wrought iron fittings.

Finally, the building has it's own march, composed by John Philip Sousa. The dedication ceremony for the Foshay was almost impossibly lavish, with building owner Wilbur Foshay inviting 25,000 people, guests recieving gold pocket watches, and music conducted by Sousa, who composed the "Foshay Tower-Washington Memorial March" for the occasion. The march was only played once during Foshay's lifetime, though-his empire soon crumbled, and the check written to Sousa for his work famously bounced. Sousa refused to allow the song to be played until the debt was paid, which didn't happen until 1988, to Sousa's estate.

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