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

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. In Part II of this documentary, Foshay: The Man and His Tower, KFAI producer Britt Aamodt takes up the narrative of Wilbur Foshay, examining his luxurious Minneapolis lifestyle--the houses, the gold faucets in the Tower offices--and how this bumptious businessman picked himself up after the Crash of 1929, only to receive word that he was being indicted for mail fraud. One of the biggest trials of the day took place in Minneapolis, sending Foshay to Leavenworth Prison, and a Minnesota family to their deaths, in the fallout from the trial. Aamodt follows Foshay after his release from prison, when the man who built the Tower sought to rebuild his life in small-town Colorado.