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W Minneapolis - The Foshay
Hotel History

The lifelong dream and namesake of Wilbur Foshay, an art student turned entrepreneur who made his fortune buying and selling utility companies, Foshay Tower was constructed to house both his business and residence. On the 27th and 28th floor, a three-bedroom and three-bathroom suite was where Foshay designed his home, with a fireplace, library, Italian Siena marble walls and glass-paneled ceilings.

Foshay invited 25,000 guests to the dedication ceremony, providing all-expenses paid trips to cabinet members, senators and congressmen. As each guest received a gold pocket watch, scintillating dancers entertained, the military gave 19-gun salutes and John Philip Sousa led the orchestra in the "Foshay Tower-Washington Memorial March," a piece he wrote specially for the occasion.

Although Foshay presented Sousa with a $20,000 check for his inspiration, the march was played only once during Foshay's lifetime—six weeks after the tower opened, his corporate empire tumbled with the stock market as the Great Depression began. The check bounced, and Sousa prohibited the playing of the march for as long as the debt remained outstanding. Foshay never lived in his new home.

In 1999, a group of Minnesota investors settled the debt with Sousa's estate and the march was permitted to play again. For the W Minneapolis, the interior of the hotel has been re-conceptualized by the award-winning Munge Lunge Design Associates with many original fixtures conserved and intact in their historical glory. In our Welcome area, you'll discover an original directory and mail-drop, as well as the same ornate elevator doors as once opened for Foshay's distinguished guests. Look up at the restored decorative ceiling in the main arcade, and down at the preserved terrazzo marble floor. On the 27th floor, drink a toast to Foshay in our sky-high Prohibition—his former office and boardroom.