Foshay Fireworks

One image from my latest Flickr album on fireworks really caught my eye. It is a 1929 postcard of the dedication of the Foshay Tower in Minneapolis, Minnesota:

Foshay Tower dedication fireworks as seen from the parade, more than a mile away. Photo by Vern Gunsolley, 1929. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.39495

The three day dedication event in August and September of 1929 included fireworks.

When I first saw this postcard, I knew nothing of the Foshay Tower.  Now I know a little bit more. Wilbur Foshay built the tower as a headquarters for his utilities company. He claimed that the design of the building was inspired by the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.

I like to see what connections I can make across collections in the Prints and Photographs Division so I set out to see what other images of the tower I could find.

Knowing that not every photo in the Prints and Photographs Division is indexed to name every building included in it, I did some intense looking at photos of the Minneapolis skyline.  I spotted the tower in the two photos below from the Farm Security Administration Collection. I have included accompanying detail images to help you spot them too.

Minneapolis, Minnesota. Skyline with windmill company in foreground. Photo by John Vachon, 1939. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/fsa.8a04688

Detail of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Skyline with windmill company in foreground. Photo by John Vachon, 1939. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/fsa.8a04688

Coalyard, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Skyline in background. Photo by John Vachon, 1939. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/fsa.8a04529

Detail of Coalyard, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Skyline in background. Photo by John Vachon, 1939. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/fsa.8a04529

The 32 story skyscraper was the tallest building in the Midwest for a number of years. You can see from this Carol M. Highsmith photo that this is no longer the case:

The Foshay Tower, now the W Minneapolis – The Foshay hotel, is a skyscraper in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, between 1980 and 2006. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.12581

The Foshay Tower is now a luxury hotel. Can you spot it in this night view taken by Carol M. Highsmith?

Skyline at dusk, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, between 1980 and 2006. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.14248

Learn More:

2 Comments

  1. Dan Kelly
    July 7, 2022 at 10:44 pm

    You would do well to further research Wilbur Foshay himself!

    And JP Sousa’s connection with the Foshay Tower!

  2. Steve Goodson
    July 13, 2022 at 3:24 pm

    Interesting! Thanks!

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