Foshay Observation Deck

Foshay Observation Deck

Werner bracing for a slow exposure 32 stories over Minneapolis on the Foshay Observation Deck.

Last weekend I ventured on a Minneapolis Photo safari with Diane, Werner and Rob. Diane was the one that came up with the location — the observation deck of the 447 foot-tall 1929 Foshay Tower. The tower has an interesting history. It was completed just months before the 1929 stock market crash and had (according to Wikipedia) a fantastic dedication ceremony:

Foshay invited 25,000 guests to the dedication ceremony and provided all-expenses paid trips to many who included cabinet members, senators and congressmen. Half nude dancers entertained. Each guest received a gold pocket watch. The military gave 19-gun salutes. John Philip Sousa conducted music, including “Foshay Tower-Washington Memorial March” a march he wrote for the occasion. Foshay presented Sousa with a check for US$20,000.

But Sousa’s check bounced and soon after the building went to the creditors and poor Wilbur Foshay landed in jail and never was able to live in the apartment he built for himself on the 28th and 29th floors.

The tower held the record until the IDS Center was built in the 1970s. It eventually fell into disrepair and it disappeared from the public consciousness as other buildings surrounded it and hid it from view.

In 2006 it was purchased by local investors and everyone but Keys Cafe moved out as the building was converted into a W Hotel. On August 13th of 2008 the W opened with a museum on the 30th floor that leads to the 32nd floor observation deck.

13 replies
  1. Rob
    Rob says:

    Couple of things stand out;
    First, your stunning photos! I really enjoy this difficult low light/night photography.
    Second, we all experienced the same view, but our photos are quite varied. I wondered how each of us would interpret what we saw.
    Third, “half nude dancers entertained senators and congressmen”; nothing has changed with the antics of our politicians past and present. 😉

    I’d be willing to revisit the Foshay Tower.

  2. Snapshutter
    Snapshutter says:

    This is why going out in group is so much fun. Everyone walks away with a different view of the same place, and I don’t mean vantage points. Part of it is technical, part of it is the creative aspect of how we portrait things.

    I’m up for another visit too. Not sure we’ll get in free of charge again, in fact still a bit of a mystery to me how we got in for free in the first place.

    BTW, great shots! And thanks for putting them up, finally 🙂

  3. Suzi
    Suzi says:

    Very interesting photo, Mitch. Great to read the information about the tech details as well. Nice look, us artists always love black backgrounds.

  4. admin
    admin says:

    No IDS Center does not have an observatory, just a restaurant on the 50th floor called Windows on Minnesota, fancy shmancy. The Sky Room at Macy’s Restaurant on the 12th floor has an awesome view and a good food-court-style lunch.


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