Wilbur B. Foshay: The Man & His Tower, Part I


MinneCulture | KFAI

It was called the Tower. It didn't need another name. The Foshay Tower, at its founding in 1929 and for nearly a half a century, reigned as the tallest building in Minneapolis. Though the Tower sank into a period of gentle neglect, it was revitalized in 2008 as the upscale W. Hotel-Minneapolis. The same cannot be said for the Tower’s builder, Wilbur B. Foshay, whose comet-like rise as a powerful Midwestern utilities magnate was embodied in the obelisk structure. Just two months after the Tower's dedication, on October 29, 1929, Wilbur Foshay lost everything in the Stock Market Crash, save for his his reputation. That, however, was defamed in 1931, when he stood trial for mail fraud, in what was largely a Ponzi scheme. Wilbur B. Foshay: The Man & His Tower, Part I In Part I of this two-part documentary, Foshay: The Man and His Tower, KFAI producer Britt Aamodt explores the meteoric rise of the WB Foshay utilities empire, which at one time stretched from Minnesota to Central America. Combining interviews, historical research and Wilbur Foshay's own words, Aamodt paints a portrait of an era rash big dreams, economic speculation, and a bigger fall—telling the tale of how the Great Depression stripped Wilbur Foshay of his empire.